Warning after Cairngorm rescue

Grampian Poice have issued a statement this week in attempt to bring hillwalkers’ attention to the need for parties to have the correct level of skill and equipment when setting out on an adventure, particularly with regards to navigation.

The warning follows on from the report of hillwalkers lost in the Ben Macdui area of the Cairngorms on Monday night.

Although this is not in this area, many people from the Mearns will travel up to the Cairngorms for expeditions and its important that people think carefully before they set out to enjoy the Scottish Highlands.

Over the weekend, both Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and the joint Grampian Police/Braemar Mountain Rescue Team, supported by colleagues from the Search and Rescue Dog Association, Aberdeen Mountain Rescue and Royal Navy Search and a rescue helicopter from Prestwick have collectively responded to four separate incidents within the Cairngorms.

The police stress the need for proper navigation equipment after the 18 individuals involved in the rescue all appeared to have been attempting to navigate within the Cairngorms using smartphone-type technology.

Whilst all were traced safe and well, it proved disappointing to both the police and the mountain rescue teams that there appeared to be a complete reliance on a navigation technology which they would consider unsuitable for the terrain these groups were traversing.

Chief Inspector Andrew Todd, co-ordinator of mountain rescue in Grampian, said: “I have been involved in mountain rescue for nearly 20 years and, whilst technology can and does play an important part in raising the alarm or assisting navigation, it appears we may be about to witness a marked increase in the complete reliance of smartphone apps to navigate some of the UK’s highest mountains.

“What is particularly concerning is that the individuals who are relying on this apparently inappropriate technology often do not possess even rudimentary mountain navigation skills.

“This is putting their lives at risk, and whilst Scotland’s mountains are there for all to enjoy, there is a personal responsibility on those who venture into the mountains to do so only when properly equipped and skilled.”