Returning to the Welsh hills and mountains

Walkers and climbers who are considering heading to the hills and mountains of north Wales are being urged to stay safe.

Photograph of Snowdon

This weekend marks the first weekend since the ‘stay local’ travel restrictions have been lifted in Wales, meaning people can now travel to see friends and family or visit beauty spots for the first time since March.

With the forecast predicting dry and sunny spells, North Wales Police, Mountain Rescue colleagues and the Snowdonia National Park are urging anyone who is planning on visiting the area to do so safely and responsibly.

Detective Superintendent Gareth Evans, North Wales Police Search & Rescue Lead said: “Over recent months the majority have complied and stayed away, and we know many are looking forward to returning to our beautiful region to enjoy the outdoors.

“However if you do intend on visiting the mountains please ensure you stay safe, be responsible and that you have the correct equipment and clothing. Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear for emergency access. Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow. Please also dispose of your litter responsibly or take it home with you.

“Coronavirus remains a real threat. Please remember that our Mountain Rescue Teams are all volunteers, and because of Covid-19, their numbers may be reduced due to many being employed as key workers.

“Follow the rules, enjoy the region safely and respect local communities.”

Chris Lloyd, Press Officer for the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association said: “We would like to thank all those who have taken heed of notices not to venture onto the hills or mountains during the strict lockdown period.

“However if you are planning on heading into the hills and mountains to take advantage of the good weather this weekend we urge you to be responsible and to stay safe.

“We will have fewer team members to carry our kit. They will also be dressed in PPE including wearing waterproofs (whatever the weather) and will be wearing surgical face masks, surgical gloves and eye protection.

“Of course no one sets off for a day in the hills or mountains expecting to be rescued. However experienced and knowledgeable you may feel you are most rescues are the result of simple slips and trips.

“Reduce the need to call for assistance by taking fewer risks, keeping to familiar routes, being suitably equipped and be more self-reliant. Carry additional clothing and sustenance in case the rescue team takes longer to get to you. Maintain battery life on at least one mobile phone in the group. Take a face mask of your own to protect others and hand sanitizer to protect yourself.

“Do not be over-ambitious. You may have not been on the hills for a few months and may not be as fit as before.

“Please also remember that footpaths have not been used so nature may have started to reclaim them. Rocks and steps may be greasy and there may be loose rocks and even rockfalls.

“Consider self-rescue. Shout to others in the area. If you really are lost, stuck or injured and cannot self-rescue do call 999. Ask for the Police and ask for Mountain Rescue. The team leader may be able to locate your mobile phone and be able to guide you to safety.”

Owain Wyn, Chair of Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “We would urge visitors to follow the advice from our local Mountain Rescue Teams and North Wales Police, and to remember that the 2 meter social distancing rule remains in place in Wales.

“If you are planning to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) do check our live car park updates on our website and social media channels before you leave home as this will give you an indication of how busy it will be, and remember that the summit building will be closed this year so there will be no toilets, bins, food or water, so be prepared before you set off on your journey.”

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