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Safety the key for Snowdonia Christmas list

Posted 18 December 2012
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Safety the key for Snowdonia Christmas list
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Many people will be happy to get some nice gadgets, clothes and chocolates on December 25th, but for those who love to go walking, Boxing Day may offer an exciting chance to make the most of a day off and head for the great outdoors.

Those thinking in such terms may be among those hardy folk who would never dream of restricting their visit to the countryside to the warmer months, choosing instead to enjoy the beauty of a frosty day, a snow-capped mountain and the few hours of enervated sunlight it is possible to enjoy at this time of year.

Snowdonia's Mountainsafe Initiative has such people in mind with its own Christmas wish list, containing several items it would recommend as being just the thing for those venturing onto the peaks of the national park in the next couple of months.

It puts a torch and batteries top of the list, so that anyone still on the hillside when the light fades for whatever reason can guide themselves down, instead of generating a Mountain Rescue call-out.

Thermal clothes may be an obvious thing to wear, but nonetheless, the Mountainsafe list includes a warm hat and gloves. Much heat is lost through the head and cold hands will be little use when trying to hold things.

Walking poles and crampons are also recommended, to take the strain off the knees and make sure it is still possible to stand and walk across areas of hard snow and ice.

Speaking for Mountainsafe, Llanberis Rescue Team chairman John Grisdale said: "It's important to respect the mountains whatever the season. However, winter can be less forgiving, and as all hill sheep farmers will confirm, conditions in the hills can be arctic and change rapidly.

"Those venturing on the mountains should be adequately shod and clothed for the prevailing conditions and checking the weather forecast for the day is always a wise decision."

The Lake District National Park's own Christmas gift idea is actually focused on the local mountain weather forecasts that can help winter walkers - and those venturing out in other seasons - to make informed decisions.

It is offering as Christmas gifts a day's sponsorship (worth £25) of its daily Weatherline service, provided on-the-spot by one of two weathermen climbing Helvellyn to report on mountain conditions. ADNFCR-2803-ID-801508517-ADNFCR