Dressing appropriately for the Scottish hills
You may have heard that the Scottish hills punch well above their weight when compared with much higher mountains across the globe.
One of the major contributors to this is the Scottish weather – it can literally change from being a nice calm day to one that challenges survival in an instant.
The fortunate thing is, we know this and therefore we can plan and prepare for it.
It all starts before the hike has even started – in your warm cosy living room. A few days before your hike starts, go to the Mountain Weather Information Service website and review the forecast in the area you’re heading to, and use the MetOffice website to check the specific mountain you’re looking to ascend. Do this right up until when you leave.
Checking a few days before allows you to determine what the underfoot will be like; if there’s been a lot of rain, it could be very boggy and the rivers may be much higher than normal (meaning they’re tougher to cross). This is also very important in the winter when it comes to avalanches – but that’s another post in itself.
The next step is to pack accordingly – if it’s forecast to be a very hot day, you may not need as many layers; though I always pack waterproofs in Scotland. Waterproofs not only keep you dry, but they’re fantastic as a wind shield. It’s the combination of wind and rain that’s a real threat.
In and of themselves, they will cool you down quickly – but when combined it’s a recipe for hypothermia. As an example, water conducts heat away from the body 25% faster than air! And on a day that’s 5C – it can actually feel like -2C due to the wind chill effect (and that’s when you’re dry). The deadly combination of the two can easily be mitigated with the right clothing.
A day out in the Scottish hills can be a safe and fun adventure – as long as the proper planning and preparation is done before hand.
For any further questions, please comment below and/or head to the Mountaineering Scotland website for some great safety related content.