Falkirk police warn ‘don’t risk your life on local hills’

A rescue squad, including helicopter, in action on mountains in the Cairngorms - but this week's drama in the Ochills proves local hills can also pose a terrifying threat.
A rescue squad, including helicopter, in action on mountains in the Cairngorms - but this week's drama in the Ochills proves local hills can also pose a terrifying threat.

Forth Valley Police have issued a stark warning about the dangers of being unprepared on local hills - after a mountain rescue squad swooped to save lost climbers at risk of exposure.

Every year Scotland’s fickle weather poses lethal danger to inexperienced hill walkers, but even veteran climbers can often find themselves in difficulty.

On Tuesday a search party was hastily formed to find two hill walkers in the Ochill Hills who had become disoriented when the weather took a sharp turn for the worse and cloud levels dropped.

They combed an area from the summit of the Law to Blen Cleuch - where their phone find system had last placed the pair, but it was a slow process as conditions continued to deteriorate.

After two and a half hours they were rescued near the summit of Ben Cleuch, “very cold and very relieved to see us out of the cloud” - and were immediately given extra clothing and placed in a bivvy shelter to stop the risk of exposure.

Finally - nearly four hours after the alert was first sounded - the casualties were taken off the hill to waitingt Landrovers, to be reunited with their anxious families.

A spokesperson for Ochils Mountain Rescue team said: “It is still ‘summer’ however conditions last night were very windy, wet and cold and it is worth remembering that hillgoers should be prepared for any and all weathers, carry a map and compass and know how to use them)

“This is essential for any time of year in the Scottish Mountains.

“Do not rely on mobile phones the batteries can run out”.

A local police spokesperson said: “We’re fortunate in Forth Valley to have no shortage of hills and mountains to enjoy.

“As we begin to move out of summer, changes in the weather can make tackling hills more challenging and sudden changes in conditions can cause climbers to get into difficulty.

“Always check the forecast before setting off, including the mountain weather forecast (www.mwis.org.uk). Ensure you have suitable clothing to stay warm and dry, as well as a torch and whistle to ensure you can attract attention if required.

“If you need assistance remember to call 999 and ask for police, then request mountain rescue.

“This will ensure there’s no delay in getting the required assistance to you”.