With the crisp winter weather, blue skies and visible snow topped mountains it’s easy to think it’s lovely weather for a walk in the mountains.
However, South Eastern Mountain Rescue Assocation Team Leader Ray Bradfield cautions “Over the Christmas holidays when people have time on their hands, some may make a day trip to the local mountains. Please remember the mountains have a unique weather system quite different to lower lying areas. The present weather has resulted in compacted black ice, treacherous for walkers. The weather can turn nasty in a matter of minutes, with fog reducing visibility to a total whiteout and the wind becoming violent. Unless people can navigate proficiently with a map and compass in all conditions, we ask walkers to stick to trails and paths and not to wander onto the open hill.”
The main ways to prevent a pleasant day in the mountains turning into an emergency situation is to adhere to the following.
* Before you decide to go, check a reliable weather forecast specific to the area.
* Bring waterproof jacket and trousers
* Wear hillwalking boots
* Bring a hot drink and ample food
* Let someone at home know where exactly you are going and what time you intend to return
* Bring hat, gloves, torch and whistle
* Bring your mobile phone but remember coverage in mountainous areas is not reliable. If you find you are in difficulty in the mountains please call emergency numbers 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue. South East Mountain Rescue Association is a 24/7/365 voluntary emergency service covering all the mountains in the south east of Ireland.