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Sunday, August 22, 1999 Published at 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK


UK: Scotland

Summer safety warning for hillwalkers

Scotland's mountains attract people from far and wide

Mountain experts have delivered a warning about venturing into the Scottish hills without proper equipment - even in the summer.

The reminder about the dangers in the hills comes after a Canadian holidaymaker sparked a full scale air and land search when she got lost in Sutherland.

Christine Butler, 20, a student from Quebec was ticked off by rescuers for going walking in wellies instead of hiking boots and for not taking a compass.


[ image: Scotland's mountains claim several lives every year]
Scotland's mountains claim several lives every year
She spent the night sheltering in a landslide scoop but barely managed to get any sleep because of the cold.

Paul Airlie, of specialist equipment suppliers Nevisport, said: "A map and a compass are the first things people should take with them at any time of year and they should know how to use them.

"Walking boots and not trainers should be worn. What to take depends on what people are planning to do, but they should think in terms of taking some food and drink, some waterproofs and an extra jersey or fleece."

He added: "The rucksack I take with me when I go walking in summer hasn't got that much less in it than my winter one. The principle of being prepared is the same."

'Crazy'

Miss Butler left the Assynt Field Centre about midday on Friday intending to do a short walk but after she became disorientated she ended up wandering for about 15 miles.

Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and an RAF Lossiemouth helicopter were called out and Miss Butler was traced at about 1600BST on Saturday as she was walking off the hills.

The field centre's NickThomson said: "We have told her that it was crazy going up there in a pair of green wellies and not hiking boots. But we are glad that she is fit and well."

The alarm was raised by centre staff when Miss Butler failed to return from her walk.


[ image: Even in summer the weather can turn bad very quickly]
Even in summer the weather can turn bad very quickly
She said: "I am a good walker and wasn't planning having any mishaps such a twisting my ankle. Unfortunately I headed off in the wrong direction. I had a map but no compass.

"I walked about for 11 hours and around midnight settled down for the night. Luckily it didn't rain and there were no midges.

"My feet were very cold and I had to stay awake to massage them to keep the circulation going."

She added: "The rescuers weren't too hard on me, and said that even they can get disorientated on occasions."

The weekend has been busy for the mountain rescue services.

Elsewhere a hillwalker turned up safe and well on Sunday after being lost overnight on the Wester Ross hills.

David Abrahams, 36, an Israeli citizen, became separated from his companion in thick mist while climbing on Sgurr nan Airgid in Glenshiel.

Kintail Mountain Rescue Team and Stornoway Coastguard helicopter resumed searching at dawn, but the climber found his own way down.

On Ben Nevis, Dr Pratima Chandratre, 42, from Halifax was airlifted to Belford Hospital in Fort William by RAF Lossiemouth helicopter after stumbling and injuring her knee while walking on the mountain track.





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Internet Links


The British Mountaineering Club

Mountaineering Council of Scotland

The Assynt Field Centre


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