Safety on the hills
Check the Weather Beforehand
Checking the local weather before embarking on a walk can give you a good idea what conditions to expect. These can vary significantly depending on the altitude at which you are walking! The Met Office provide a Mountain Weather forecast providing details of what to expect at various heights in popular walking locations across the British Isles. The link below will take you to the forecasts for the area where the club undertakes most of it’s walks.
Wear and carry the proper gear
Dress for the weather
Clothing should be made up of a number of layers of garments giving good insulation and at the same time, allowing freedom of movement, e.g. base layer, shirt, sweatshirt or fleece top or one or two long-sleeved medium weight jerseys. Jeans afford little or no protection against wet and are NOT suitable. Water and windproof over-trousers and hooded anorak or cagoule are essential as are long-wristed gloves or mitts, woollen hat or balaclava helmet. Gaiters are useful protection in snow, bogs and long heather. Carry spare emergency clothing, suitably protected from damp – socks, woollen jersey, light trousers, survival bag. Remember that even in summer, at high altitude in the Scottish hills it can be cold. But be prepared for the warm days and use sun cream where necessary and carry a light shirt and shorts, but beware of ticks. You will need a suitable waterproof rucksack. Newcomers to hillwalking can obtain advice on sources of supply, best buys by asking around the club members.
Carry First Aid kit
Elastoplast, gauze, lint, antiseptic cream, bandages, paracetamol are not bulky or heavy, and may be needed, if only for dealing with the odd blister, skin graze or headache.
Start the day with a nourishing, high-protein breakfast and carry something nutritious for lunch. Make sure you carry plenty of fluid, preferably hot, (tea, soup etc., not alcohol) and some high calorific emergency rations such as chocolate, mint-cake, dried fruit, glucose, barley sugar – you never know.
This should also include a whistle (six regular short, sharp blasts if in trouble), a torch (remember to check periodically that it is working), and some loose change (you may need a telephone on reaching help). A mobile phone can also be useful but remember in the hills you are often out of range of a signal. Remember to bring any medicines you require.
Check out / check in
Please note the time you should finish the walk and sign against your name to say you have returned.
Use the route sheet
Route sheets for each outing are available through the web site and copies are available on the outward bus journey. They are issued in a spirit of helpfulness, and it is inevitable that from time to time, walkers will wish to vary from the prescribed route. Any such variation, whatever its nature, must be brought to the attention of the person in charge of the outing, before commencement of the walk. He or she will take into account the known physical and navigational ability before approving, or otherwise. If such approval is not forthcoming, the decision of the person in charge (normally the club president or his nominated representative) must be regarded as final. Study the route sheet on the outward journey and if unsure of anything, ask. Take special note of the pick-up point and time.
Learn basic navigation skills
Assess your physical fitness
Know yourself and your physical limitations. We all like to stretch ourselves sometimes, but recognition of the line between stretching and foolhardiness can mean the difference between a pleasant outing and a lot of trouble and embarrassment. Members receiving medication are strongly advised to seek the advice of their doctor before undertaking, in particular, the more arduous walks.
Enjoy the company!
In the event of a mishap
Accidents do occur on the hills. We hope with care you hope they will never happen, but it is prudent to know what to do in the worst scenario. It is impossible to cover every eventuality, but the following are common sense guidelines.
Sudden illness or accident
In the event of navigational error and delay, every effort should be made to contact the waiting bus with a clear message indicating the names of those delayed, their present position and their intentions.
Keep your head!
Keep your head and stay as warm and comfortable as possible without unnecessary exertion. Remember that help will be coming at first light, so move around only in daylight and in as conspicuous a way as possible. Wear your brightest garments on top and use your whistle at frequent intervals.