By Mountaineering Scotland:
As the weather turns colder, and with more snow forecast to fall over the next few weeks, mountain safety organisations are coming together to encourage people to ‘ThinkWINTER’ and ensure that those heading for Scotland’s winter hills and mountains can easily access the right information and advice.
With more people than ever before going out into the Scottish mountains, it’s important for people to know where to find the information they need to plan winter days out. But with so much content now available online, it can be hard to know which sources to trust. To cut through the misinformation, Scotland’s leading mountain experts have teamed up again for the annual ThinkWINTER campaign - providing clear, relevant, and knowledgeable sources of information on winter activities.
Mountaineering Scotland’s Senior Mountain Safety Advisor, Ross Cadie, explained: “When winter arrives in Scotland’s mountains, we need to make sure we do our homework before heading out. Planning and preparation from trusted sources and matching your adventure to your level of skill and conditions will help you return home safely.”
Now in its fifth year, the ThinkWINTER campaign is a joint venture between Mountaineering Scotland, Scottish Mountain Rescue, Mountain Training Scotland, Glenmore Lodge, Developing Mountain Biking Scotland, Snowsport Scotland, The Scottish Avalanche Information Service and Police Scotland.
Mark Diggins, from The Scottish Avalanche Information Service, said “Cold temperatures and the arrival of the first winter snowfall is an exciting time for all those who enjoy the winter mountains - we provide winter avalanche hazard information to help with your choices and planning. Even on those first days, ThinkWINTER and be switched on from day one.”
Shaun Roberts, Principal of Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, said: “The winter mountains have a habit of finding you out if you have not planned well. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips – avalanche hazard information, mountain weather information, winter equipment advice – use it well and have some amazing adventures this winter”
George McEwan, Mountain Training Scotland Executive Officer, added “The winter mountains are a definite step up in terms of hazards and effort required for an enjoyable journey compared to going out in summer conditions. This challenge is part of the appeal for many and those who are qualified to work in the winter mountains are committed to staying up to date with the ever-changing weather and avalanche forecasts.”
Now is the time to ThinkWINTER on hills like Ben Vane (pictured) / Credit: Helen Gestwicki
It’s not only walkers and climbers who are being asked to ThinkWINTER. Anyone who takes part in winter activities – from ski and snowboard touring to mountain biking - should also make sure they prepare for Scotland’s winter conditions. Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, said: “The winter months bring additional considerations to mountain biking safely. We are keen to help provide good advice to our mountain bike community to help keep them safe and riding responsibly through the winter months. Over the last couple of years, many new people have taken up mountain biking and we are therefore delighted to again be part of the #ThinkWINTER campaign to help get these important messages out to as wide an audience as possible.”
Snowsport Scotland CEO, Scott Simon, added: “We are blessed with some of the world’s finest scenery and terrain in which to ski-tour or split-board in Scotland. To maximise your experience and adventures, we recommend you get trained, get educated and get active in all the necessary skills and training required to take advantage of the conditions and Scottish weather. Snowsport Scotland has an array of courses delivered by some world leading providers and education resources accessible to members on its website. Time to #ThinkWINTER, get those edges and skills sharpened, to enable you to enjoy a fun, safe and adventurous winter season.”
Scotland’s volunteer mountain rescue teams have also been preparing for the winter season and assisting anyone who gets into difficulty in the mountains. Scottish Mountain Rescue Chair, Bill Glennie, said: “Do go out into the outdoors and enjoy Scotland’s mountains when many would say they are at their finest, but do it safely, with the appropriate
skills and equipment, as highlighted in the #ThinkWINTER campaign. And remember, if you are lost, injured and in need of assistance or in an emergency, dial 999 ask for POLICE then MOUNTAIN RESCUE.”
Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland’s MRT lead added, “We are delighted to support this year’s ThinkWINTER campaign and with the first real winter conditions set to hit in the coming days being prepared and properly planning for being in our hills becomes ever more important. As ever, our amazing volunteer mountain rescue teams will be there to support those in difficulty right through the season whatever the weather.”
ThinkWINTER will continue throughout the winter season, providing useful information, updates and tips, shared across the organisations’ social media platforms and websites, as well as a series of winter skills talks, all using the hashtag #ThinkWINTER.
About Mountaineering Scotland
Mountaineering Scotland is the membership and representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers in Scotland, with a membership of 16,000 individual and club members and 150 affiliated clubs. We aim to inspire and encourage people to enjoy the benefits of walking, climbing and ski touring and provide information and skills training to mountain users to promote safety, self-reliance and responsible access in Scotland’s mountains and climbing venues.