NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Hillwalking warning over smartphones after Cairngorms rescue

Police have issued a warning to hillwalkers about using smartphones for navigation after a spate of rescues.

Grampian Police said there had been four separate incidents within the Cairngorms since Friday.

The latest saw 14 hillwalkers being led to safety early on Tuesday after getting into difficulties in bad weather on Ben Macdui.

Members of Grampian Police, Braemar and Aberdeen mountain rescue teams helped, with a helicopter from HMS Gannet.

'Personal responsibility'

Ch Insp Andrew Todd, co-ordinator of mountain rescues in Grampian, said: "I have been involved in mountain rescue for nearly 20 years.

"Whilst technology can and does play an important part in raising the alarm or assisting navigation, it appears we may be about to witness a marked increase in the complete reliance of smartphone apps to navigate some of the UK's highest mountains.

"What is particularly concerning is that the individuals who are relying on this apparently inappropriate technology often do not possess even rudimentary mountain navigation skills.

"This is putting their lives at risk, and whilst Scotland's mountains are there for all to enjoy, there is a personal responsibility on those who venture into the mountains to do so only when properly equipped and skilled."

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