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Rescue reassurance for hillwalkers

Thursday 4th June 2020, 3:54pm

Hill walkers and climbers have been reassured that they should not be penalised if they have to call on the services of a mountain rescue team.

News that two people had been charged with culpable and reckless conduct following a rescue call-out near Crianlairich at the weekend had been causing concern in the outdoor community.

Mountaineering Scotland is working with Scottish Mountain Rescue and Police Scotland who have said to climbers and walkers that if they stick to the Phase 1 lockdown guidelines they will not be at risk of a fine.

Stuart Younie, Chief Executive of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Walkers and climbers who follow the guidance on travel and stay local should have no concerns. We want to encourage everyone who is able to access the hills to make sure they stay safe and are well prepared before they go.”

Damon Powell, Chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, said: “Mountain rescue teams are here to help. If people get into difficulties in the hills they should be clear that MR assistance is provided without cost and without judgement.”

Chief Inspector Gill Marshall, of Forth Valley Police, said: “I would like to reassure outdoor enthusiasts that when the guidance allows the resumption of their pursuits, Police Scotland and our colleagues in Mountain Rescue teams across the area will be committed to providing support and assistance to those in difficulty, as we always have done.

“In the current climate we must all work together to minimise the risks faced, and we will continue to engage and encourage compliance, with enforcement as a last resort."

Mountaineering Scotland has issued Phase 1 guidance for walkers and climbers, urging its members and others to stay local, be prepared, be safe and be considerate. Anyone considering going to Scotland’s hills and mountains is asked to read this before they go. It can be found at www.mountaineering.scot/coronavirus