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A reminder to ThinkWINTER in June!

Thursday 6th June 2024, 10:14am

With what looks like an abrupt change in weather and a return (albeit brief...hopefully!) to more wintery conditions for this time of year, Ben Gibson from the Mountain Safety Team provides a wee reminder on what kit to have for a safe and fun day out on the hills, especially when the weather is so changeable!

We have been gifted some great spells of settled and warm weather recently, allowing for some great days out on the hills with a nice lightweight bag. However, this has been dictated by the weather and good planning on what to take. With that in mind, and looking at the return of some cold Arctic air, potential for snow and wintery conditions, it would be a good idea to pack a few extra bits for increased comfort and readiness if those conditions fall upon you or you get caught out!

If you’re feeling confident and comfortable to get out when the weather has changed remember to plan a walk according to the conditions and your experience. If you’re thinking about more exposed terrain and ridges, scale it back to simple and less complex routes or hills where the weather may feel more manageable, especially if the potential for snow and strong winds could give way to increased risks of slips, trips and falls.

If you’ve been enjoying wearing lighter walking boots, shoes, shorts and wicking t-shirts (which I certainly have recently), we can stay warmer and more comfortable if we revert to some thicker trousers, long-sleeves and warmer boots, as well as adding a waterproof jacket and trousers to our kit.  Throwing in an extra warm beanie hat, spare gloves or mitts, and warm synthetic jacket or fleece (all in a drybag or plastic bag) will help when you might be stopped or just moving that bit slower due to the weather or underfoot conditions.

Also, with more unsettled conditions, there may be an increase in cloud cover over the hills, reducing visibility and possibly challenging your navigation skills. So being prepared to navigate, have a map and compass at the ready and if using your phone for navigating with, remember to keep in protected from the elements, fully charged and have appropriate navigation apps to help relocate your position back to your map.  Check out the Mountaineering Scotland SmartNav guidance for more info. 

Lastly, some extra food and a hot drink along with the above mentioned essentials and emergency bag (Blizzard bag), first aid, map and compass, fully charged mobile phone and a whistle can all help in giving you a good toolbox of gear to use as and when weather and conditions dictate.

Whatever you choose to do, plan well, stay safe and have fun adventure out on the hills!