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First Aid in the mountains

A knowledge of First Aid is a valuable skill for anyone heading out into the hills and mountains, where they may well be a long way from professional help.

Mountaineering Scotland runs two First Aid courses each year focusing on practical skills to use in the event of an incident in the hills. Alternatively there is a range of other providers who deliver outdoor-focused courses, some of which offer discount to members.

Keeping warm

If the situation is serious and you are relying on professional help to arrive, your priority will be to keep the casualty and the rest of your group warm.

Many mountain rescue call outs in Scotland end up treating the casualty for hypothermia as well as whatever stopped them in the first place.

  • Ensure everyone puts on all their spare layers
  • Put the casualty into a bivi bag, insulate them from below with spare kit
  • Arrange the rest of the group around the casualty in a group shelter. 

The First Aid kit that you carry on the hills need not take up a lot of space or weight, but there are some essentials we would suggest all hill walkers or climbers take with them. 

If you are heading out with friends or family, you can share the load and don't need to duplicate most items. So decide with members of your group in advance on who will take what in their rucksack.

  • A tick hook
  • Duct tape
  • Triangular bandage
  • A wound dressing
  • A crepe bandage
  • A roll of general purpose medical tape
  • A selection of plasters and/or Compeed-style blister plasters
  • Scissors or a knife
  • A few pairs of rubber or plastic gloves
  • Pain killers. If you are at all unsure about administering pain killers, DONíT