ThinkEASTER! Prep for your weekend adventures
As the Easter bank holiday weekend approaches, itís that time of year where weíre alternating between reminding people to pack the suncream, and also to be aware that itís still winter up on the high tops, with extensive snow coverage still across many of the mountain ranges in Scotland. At this time of year, the weather is often warmer and more settled, creating some superb conditions for walking and climbing, but also some very slippery, icy snow patches which can present a hazard for walkers on many popular routes.
So, with that in mind, hereís a reminder of some key questions to ask yourself when planning your adventures and links to some trusted websites for info on weather, conditions and how to prepare for four seasons in one day, and make some happy memories on the hills this spring.
- What will the weather and conditions be like? Check at least one mountain-specific weather forecast and the avalanche forecast in advance of your trip so you have an idea of what conditions you can expect. The Scottish Avalanche Information Service daily blogs are great to see what ground conditions have been like in recent days, so definitely worth having a look at those.
- Have you got suitable clothing and equipment for where you are going? It might be sunny and warm in the car park, but it can still be really cold on top of a hill in Scotland in spring, especially if there is any wind, which can make you cold very quickly. Be prepared with plenty of warm layers, a windproof outer shell, hats, gloves and neck warmers. Good quality hiking boots are essential, and you may still need crampons and an ice axe to keep safe on areas of hard snow or ice. Remember: microspikes are not crampons. They may be useful for icy trail and paths lower down on less serious terrain but are no substitute for crampons where the ground can be steeper and the consequences of a slip more serious.
- Is your intended route suitable for your experience and fitness level, and that of anyone you're going with? Use several sources of information to check your intended route(s) are appropriate for you and anyone else in your group. Know your limits and be prepared to alter your plans if the weather or conditions change.
- Do you know how to find your way if you go off route or it gets hard to see the way? Even in good conditions itís easy to lose concentration and end up somewhere unexpected. Understanding the map (whether on your phone or a paper map) and knowing how to use that information to get to where you want to be is really important, so take time to practice your navigation skills on every trip. Download the free OS locate app onto your phone to get a six-figure grid reference without the need for mobile signal, and have a spare battery pack to make sure you can charge your phone if required, so you always have a fix on your location.
- Are you familiar with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code? The code outlines how we can all enjoy the outdoors by treating the environment and each other with respect and courtesy. Remember it is lambing and bird nesting season just now, so keep dogs under close control and take care where you are walking so as not to create any disturbance to wildlife.
- Have you told someone else where you are going? Let someone know where you are going, what you intend to do, what time you will be back and what to do if you arenít in touch when expected.
- Do you know when and how to call for help? In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for Police, and then Mountain Rescue
Find out more aboutÖ
∑ Mountain weather & forecasts | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Met office
Avalanche forecast and blogs:
∑ SAIS website and app
∑ SAIS blogs
Clothing and equipment
∑ Clothing and equipment for winter walking | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Video: Selecting clothing and footwear for winter
Navigation and other essential skills
∑ Essential skills | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Planning and following a route | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Calling for help | Mountaineering Scotland
Access Rights & Responsibilities
∑ Scottish Outdoor Access Code | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Nesting Birds | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Taking your dog out with you on the hills | Mountaineering Scotland
∑ Minimal Impact Advice | Mountaineering Scotland