Hillgoers in Scotland are being reminded to leave a note of their plans before heading out. It's easy now that the updated 'Going to the Hills...?' form has been made available online.
"Taking a few minutes to complete it could prove to be the most important thing you've ever done"
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has joined Police Scotland and other organisations to ask walkers and climbers to complete the updated 'Going to the Hills...?' form, which asks for simple details that could aid any search and rescue should something go wrong.
The form asks for details of those in the group, your planned route and the expected return time, and emergency contact information. It takes just a few minutes to complete and police say it can make a huge difference if you find yourself in difficulty.
Superintendent Gus MacPherson of Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division met with Chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, Jonathan Hart and Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, to publicise the form.
Superintendent MacPherson said:
'The contact form is not a new idea but as we approach the autumn and winter months it is the ideal time to encourage its use by all those who enjoy the outdoors.'
'This information can provide an early alert if you or your party fall into difficulty and early notification can make all the difference to your safety especially during poor weather and low temperatures.'
Jonathan Hart explained how the sort of info contained on the form can be of help to rescuers.
'Scottish Mountain Rescue is a world class voluntary service' he said.
'In order to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for those in distress in the Scottish mountains, our volunteer team leaders require early notification as well as accurate and reliable data relating to any mountain incident.'
'By encouraging wider use of the ‘Going to the Hills...?' form we can ensure that accurate and detailed emergency contact details are available to Police Scotland who coordinate the response to these incidents.'
'Early notification, along with accurate incident information means that the most appropriate assets are tasked to any mountain incident and that Scottish Mountain Rescue Team Leaders can ensure that those in distress in the Scottish mountains can be delivered safely and efficiently into definitive care, with the minimum of risk to team members.'
Heather Morning added:
'I would encourage anyone, but particularly those who head out into the hills alone, to print off a few of these forms and complete one each time they head out.'
'No one thinks that they will have problems in the hills, but sometimes the unexpected happens. Taking a few minutes to complete a ‘Going to the Hills’ form could prove to be the most important thing you have ever done.'