As Easter approaches with six people currently missing in Scotland’s mountains, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has joined forces forces with police to urge outdoor enthusiasts to stay safe.
With Easter coming early this year and snow still in the mountains, walkers and climbers are being advised to always leave word of where they are going.
The sister of one man who has been missing for almost a year has told of the heartache and financial and administrative nightmares that followed his disappearance.
Young climbers Tim Newton and Rachel Slater went missing on Ben Nevis in February, and earlier this month Jim Robertson from Glasgow went missing in the Cairngorms.
Still missing from the summer of 2015 are three hill walkers lost in separate incidents in the Lochaber/Glencoe area: Tom Brown, Eric Cyl and Robin Garton.
Voluntary mountain rescue team members, Police Scotland, RAF mountain rescue and Search and Rescue helicopters have committed considerable time and effort in unsuccessful searches for all the missing people.
The sister of Tom Brown, Marjorie Ballantine, said: “My experience following the disappearance of my brother demonstrates how irresponsible it is to set off alone without indicating to anyone where you are going.
“When a person goes missing the relatives are faced with awful uncertainty and grief.
“There’s also a legislative process of immense complexity to deal with.”
Police area commander for the South Highland area, Chief Inspector Brian Mackay, said: “We are asking the hill-going public, and even those on lower level rambles, to make sure that somebody knows where they are going, so that we have a better idea where to look for them if they are overdue.”
Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor with The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “It might be as simple as texting or emailing a friend with my intended plans, or giving someone a call.”