Walkers urged to tread warily on the slopes

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We may be well into spring, but the high mountains of Scotland are still hanging onto winter.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and British Mountaineering Council (BMC) are joining forces to recommend hill walkers be prepared to deal with late-lying snow conditions when they head for the Scottish hills.

This spring has been unseasonably cold, resulting in some of the best skiing and winter climbing for several years. It looks like that these conditions will also result in snow long into the summer.

Late-lying snow patches will often be hard and compacted after frequent melting and refreezing, offering little traction for boots to grip into and a high chance of slipping.

Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor with The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “Every spring thousands of hill walkers enjoy getting back into the hills again. The vast majority have a fantastic experience.

“But for those who do get into difficulties when encountering old snow patches; sadly a slip and subsequent slide in the wrong place does result in fatalities.

“My advice, if you don’t have the kit or knowledge to deal with hard snow is to adjust your plan, or enjoy a day out on one of our fabulous lower hills or glens, where there is no chance of encountering old snow patches.”

The MCofS urge walkers to take a good look at the mountain weather forecasts in advance of heading out.

Mountain specific weather conditions can be found at www.mwis.org.uk.