Walkers and mountaineers are being urged to fill out an updated online contact form before they take to the hills.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has joined Highland Police and Scottish Mountain Rescue to ask mountaineers to complete the updated 'Going to the Hills' form, which asks for simple details to aid any search and rescue operations that need to be mounted.
The form asks for details of those in the walking or climbing group, planned route, expected return time as well as medical and emergency contact information. It takes no longer than 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, at the Cairngorm to discuss the form and encourage its use.
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."
Mr Hart said: "Scottish Mountain Rescue is a world class voluntary service. 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 whom 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 said: "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."
Photo: Superintendent Gus MacPherson (Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division), Andy Rockall (Scottish Mountain Rescue) and Heather Morning (The Mountaineering Council of Scotland) at the Cairngorm Mountain base
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