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Prioritise safety when climbing Bennachie this winter


By Kyle Ritchie

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Hill walkers planning to climb Bennachie this winter have been urged to stay safe during the season.

With colder weather now affecting the area people have been advised to make sure they are prepared for the conditions.

The Aberdeenshire hill range is not the highest but is a very popular day out for people of all ages and can present hazards during winter.

The Bailies of Bennachie conservation group has teamed up with the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team to offer advice.

Mario De Maio of the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team warns that icy paths, short hours of daylight, and a strenuous climb can all present hazards at this time of year.

He said: “Bennachie is frequently the scene of accidents which end up involving the local mountain rescue team.

"In fact, Bennachie has almost as many call-outs for mountain rescue teams as the much bigger mountains of the Cairngorms.

"So small it might be in comparison to the bigger hills and mountains to the west but it can be just as challenging.

Mario de Maio is with the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team.
Mario de Maio is with the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team.

"Many of the incidents which end up with people having to be rescued are a result of them not wearing the correct footwear.

“Even on the warmest of days the weather on top of Bennachie can be cold and windy. There is not a great deal of shelter on any of the Bennachie tops and getting out of the wind can be difficult so you should have extra clothes with you and certainly a jacket to keep the wind out.

"During the winter months it is important to have a hat and gloves and it is always worth carrying an extra layer to pop on when you get to the top.”

As well as wearing strong walking shoes or boots and appropriate clothing the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team recommends having a clear plan, taking a map, checking the weather forecast, and taking water and a snack.

The important advice that is outlined is:

  • Plan the trip, make sure that what is going to be attempted is something that the walkers are going to be able to do safely and that they have given themselves enough time.
  • Before heading out think about the weather, check the forecast and use that information to plan the route. This is especially important in winter when the weather is more challenging the higher up the hill.
  • Make sure that the correct footwear is being worn. This is really important not just during the winter months and might just make the difference between a good day out and one where people have to be rescued.
  • Remember the weather can change so carrying a waterproof and windproof jacket along with some extra clothing is a good idea – even in summer.
  • It is also worth remembering that having something to eat and drink during the trip up Bennachie might be a good idea. People will be using up quite a lot of energy during the ascent of Bennachie, so having a snack will help to keep them going.
Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team has teamed with the Bailies of Bennachie to provide safety advice.
Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team has teamed with the Bailies of Bennachie to provide safety advice.

The outreach officer for the Bailies of Bennachie Fiona Cormack said: “We are grateful to the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team for helping with this section on our website.

"There is information on the team; its history and training; a video of a day in the life of a mountain rescuer; as well as more information about staying safe in winter.

"We hope people will follow the advice and there will be fewer call outs in the next few months.”

The advice can be found on the winter section of the Bailies learning website at www.juniorbailies.org.uk/aberdeen-mountain-rescue-team.html


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