Snowy Tree
Yes, it is supposed to be warming up but it ain't!
Forecasters have said that May 2012 could be the coldest May in 100 years. This could prove disastrous to amateurs and mountain rescue at the beginning of the hiking season. Read on... 

Forecasters have predicted that after an exceptionally wet April (yes, we are still in a drought), May 2012 looks no better. It is said that it will be a lot colder and wetter than usual for this time of year. (Because the plants are using up most of the water as they are growing, so yes we will still be in a drought.) Also, snow will fall on higher ground. This will mean that cornices (overhanging snow on the sides of mountains) may form on peaks susceptible to them such as Ben Nevis. Although these cornices will probably provide no threat to walkers who know what they are doing we could see calls to mountain rescue rise as first time walkers visit the mountains of the UK.

What Can You Do?

Obviously no one can control the weather but you can protect yourself and help others. When climbing mountains with snow on the ground be sure to keep to the path and away from the edge, this will stop you from standing on a cornice or slipping and injuring yourself. Also be sure to take a first aid kit on every walk so that you can deal with minor injuries and consider buying YakTrax to give yourself extra grip on the ice. You must also pay extra attention to navigation as visibility may often be low.  If you are experienced and live in a mountainous area you could volunteer for mountain rescue or if you don't live in a mountainous area simply telling your friends to be extra careful on the mountains could really help reduce the number of calls mountain rescue receives. Finally remember if the conditions on your hike start to deteriorate, head back, the mountain will always be there so make sure you are. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get any colder or wetter than April!

Stay safe!

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