Thursday 10th December 2020, 11:49am
Mountaineering Scotland and a group of partner organisations have launched the 2020 #ThinkWINTER campaign this week to encourage and help people to be safer in the outdoors and the mountains this winter.
This summer saw a noticeable increase in the number of people heading for the outdoors and, with foreign travel opportunities still limited due to coronavirus, it’s likely that many will carry on their new hobby through the winter, domestic COVID restrictions permitting.
The #ThinkWINTER campaign, now in its third year, will draw on expert advice from a number of fields to help people get the most out of their winter adventures while acting responsibly and safely.
Mountaineering Scotland has teamed up with Scottish Mountain Rescue, Mountain Training, Glenmore Lodge, Snowsport Scotland and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland to ensure a wide range of activities are covered and that the widest number of people can be reached.
Using traditional and social media, as well as working with outdoor retailers and brands and the tourism industry, the campaign will give access to free expert advice for outdoor activities including hill walking and mountaineering, back country skiing, hill-running and mountain biking.
Stuart Younie, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “It has been great to see #ThinkWINTER grow over the last three years and 2020 is set to be our biggest campaign yet.
“We are delighted to be working with so many partner organisations to help get our winter safety messages out there and particularly to all the new people who have been out enjoying the hills since lockdown. The winter environment in the hills can provide some amazing experiences but it can also be unforgiving for those who are not prepared, and we want to make sure people have a great time while keeping themselves and others safe.”
Damon Powell, Chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, the umbrella organisation which represents 24 rescue teams across Scotland, said: “We are all, new and experienced, finding our visits to the Scottish hills more important than ever this year. So, if you are lucky enough to be able to travel to enjoy Scotland’s mountains, when many would say they are at their finest, please do it safely, with the appropriate skills and equipment, as highlighted in the #ThinkWINTER campaign.”
Shaun Roberts, Principal at Glenmore Lodge, sportscotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, said: “It is critical that you pack the right information as well as the right gear, so make the most of the free resources available as part of your planning. sportscotland’s Scottish Avalanche Information Service will not only provide you with hazard forecasts for your chosen area, but also provides blog posts from the forecaster team. Use these alongside the Mountain Weather Information Service and Met Office mountain weather forecasts.”
Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, said: “We are extremely lucky in Scotland to have so many choices of places to ride. Outstanding trail centres and an amazing choice of natural rides that are accessible all year round.
“We know that the winter months bring an extra element to mountain biking safely and we are keen to help promote responsible messaging and provide good advice to our community to help keep them safe through the winter months. We are delighted to again be part of the #ThinkWINTER campaign to help get these important messages out to as wide and diverse an audience as possible.”
Snowsport Scotland CEO Trafford Wilson said: “For many snowsports enthusiasts winter is our time – that chance to finally get out a do the sport we love in the Scottish mountains. Scotland provides some truly unique and memorable snowsports opportunities to all, from beautiful bluebird days tackling grippy pistes to the more challenging days of riding the deep and steep lines in low visibility. And whilst we love and enjoy these environments, Scotland’s mountains need to be respected and require the right equipment, preparation and skills to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Snowsport Scotland is excited to be part of the #ThinkWINTER campaign, to help share these important messages to our community and beyond.”