Fresh smartphone advice for hillwalkers issued

HILLWALKERS are getting fresh advice on how to use their mobile phones and global position system (GPS) handsets to navigate safely on Scotland’s mountains.

The guidance has been issued by Mountaineering Scotland to help promote better and more reliable use of smart devices during hikes.

The advice includes downloading maps for use offline to avoid being reliant on getting a signal, making sure batteries are charged fully, and carrying a map and compass as a back-up – and knowing how to use them.

Other tips include taking along a powerbank to recharge devices, protecting devices from the weather, and switching phones to “flight safe” mode, so they use less power.

Ben Gibson, Mountaineering Scotland’s safety advisor, said: “When going out into the hills this winter or at any other time of the year, it is important to look after your phone as it not only gives you additional information to help with your hill and mountain navigation but, is also your lifeline to contacting the emergency services in the event you or a group member finds yourself in a serious situation.

“Remember, if you’re downloading your route from an app, it’s always worth checking it against other reliable sources to make sure it’s safe and suitable for your level of experience and ability.”

The advice is based on a survey carried out last year by Mountaineering Scotland, which found 87% of people use an electronic device for navigation during walks.

The guidance is backed by the Mountain Safety Group, which includes Police Scotland and Scottish Mountain Rescue.

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s outdoors pages.

Plus, don’t miss the Munro Mk1 electric 4×4 in the February issue of Scottish Field magazine.

Hillwalking advice - mobile phones