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Clouds over Glamaig

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Skye Mountain Rescue Team
c/o Portree Police Station
Somerled Square
Portree
Isle Of Skye
IV51 9EH

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Mountain Safety

Many mountain accidents are the result of a simple slip.

Mountains and hills can be dangerous places and should always be taken seriously. However a few simple precautions can make all the difference to your chances of survival or rescue should the worst happen.

The following advice by Gerry Akroyd, Skye MR Team leader is taken from the Harvey's Superwalker Map of the Skye Cuillin.

The weather on the Cuillin is sometimes fickle and weather reports can be up to 12 hours out.

For online weather reports please see:

Isle of Skye (BBC)
XCWeather
Mountain Weather Information Service
Carbost Weather (Nearest weather station to the Cuillins)
Avalanche Information Service

Click to download handbook for Working with Search and Rescue Helicopters PDF by Duncan Tripp RAF Aircrew Paramedic Winchman.

You must know your limitations. Do realise that you are starting from sea level and that everything is steep and that's why it looks so near. You are walking on rock, scree, and debris from 150m (500 ft) onwards.

Although the Cuillin are unique in that they contain one of the roughest rock known, gabbro, a lot of the Cuillin contains basalt in varying degrees. The basalt when moist, even with dew is very slippery. The terrain in each corrie changes and if you are not already adept at picking out the changes in rock structure, you soon will be. Stray off the normal trade routes and you are into fragile rocks, which are not always to be trusted. This has caused many accidents in the past.

You must be prepared to turn back in mist, which seems to manifest itself when you are not quite lost, but could be. Be aware where you have come from.

Appropriate clothing and footwear are essential. Good mountain boots are recommended. You only have one pair of feet! One boulder does a lot of damage through canvas boots and trainers. Add to this the sprained ankle syndrome, a very regular occurrence, with broken toes and foot bones a close second.

Setting off a flare to show location to helicopter.

Carry plenty of food and drink (two litres of water on a warm day is a reasonable amount) to cover the unexpected.

Carry a good map and be familiar with the use of it. It can be very difficult in bad weather for people who are here for the first time. A compass should be carried although it should be pointed out that the Cuillin ridge and even some of the corries have magnetic properties which make a compass unreliable.

Please, please let someone know where you are going. Write down the names of the corries, peaks etc. that you intend to tackle. 24 corries and 12 miles of ridge is a lot to search. Yes - a needle in a haystack! - but it still happens.

Do not come to the Cuillin Ridge without cutting your teeth elsewhere in Scotland. Do not rush the Cuillin. Although eroding they will still be there tomorrow. Fear them, maybe doubly respect them and you will have many great mountain days within their aura.

Practising tyrolean traverses.

Practising tyrolean traverses.