LISTEN: Stuart Younie explains how enthusiasts can make the most of the winter, safely
Highland Perthshire, and the rest of Perth and Kinross, is laminated in a frosty coating of snow, making ‘ideal conditions for winter walkers, climbers and skiers.’
However, ‘climbers, walkers and skiers need to be far more dependent on their own skills and resources’ since there are less people out in the hills this year.
Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of Mountaineering Scotland said: “It can be a brilliant time, we’ve had some fantastic weather and some unusually unsettled weather, and winter is not just up on the high-tops, it’s everywhere at the moment.
“So it’s a great time to get out, great time to get out and enjoy some fresh air, it’s what we all need to get out of the house, particularly at the moment.
“But you do need to be careful, particularly if you’re lucky enough to be getting to the high tops, you do need to know what you’re doing.
“Even just going for a local walk, with some of the unusual conditions it presents really icy paths on forest trails as people get their local exercise.”
Mountaineering Scotland are also reminding people to stick within the Coronavirus rules when they’re outside.
This means that people getting to enjoy the outdoors should remember that they can travel as far as five miles outside of their area, to afford some leeway, but should only keep to travelling small distances while exercising.
Mr Younnie added: “There are fewer people about in the hills and mountains because most are adhering to the travel guidelines and tending to choose less busy areas, meaning climbers, walkers and skiers need to be far more dependent on their own skills and resources.
“The unusually cold start to this year has also brought full winter conditions to the lower hills and paths, which means we have seen skiing and winter walking taking place in areas where we wouldn’t normally see so much activity, especially in the hills accessible from the central belt.”
Some hill goers have even broken the rules recently and crossed beyond the limit of their area and found themselves stuck.
Having broken the Coronavirus rules, they were finned and risked spreading the virus, which is why Mountaineering Scotland are saying it’s just not worth breaking the rules.
Damon Powell, Chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, added: “Despite the challenges the current situation is putting on our volunteer members, Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams remain ready to respond to anyone who gets into difficulty in the outdoors, wherever that may be.
“If you are lost or injured and can’t get off the hill call 999, ask for Police then ask for Mountain Rescue.”
People looking for further resources and advice should go to: www.mountaineering.scot/thinkwinter
More information on the rules for going outside can be found on: www.mountaineering.scot/thinkwinter