Webcams on Scotland’s mountains will “save lives”, says MSP

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WEBCAMS should be fitted to Scotland’s mountains to help “save lives”, a Scottish minister has claimed.

Since January this year 12 people have died while tackling some of the country’s highest peaks.

At the moment a handful of popular resorts such as Loch Ness and the Cairngorms already have the digital devices installed where users can “gauge the conditions”.

 

 

Bidean nam Bian where four climbers died in January
Bidean nam Bian where four climbers died in January (pic: Simon McElroy)

 

Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith said if webcams were “expanded” then it would help prevent accidents.

But experts said the cameras would dilute the danger of mountaineering and encourage those without the right skills to venture up the slopes.

Mrs Smith said: “There are excellent weather forecasts available but I think this should be expanded.

“A network of webcams would be another tool in the box to help people gauge the conditions at higher altitudes. I believe it would save lives.”

In January four people died in an avalanche while descending the 3,658ft Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe.

Tragic couple Dr Rachel Majumdar, 29, and Tom Chesters, 28, met at university and were making plans for a future together in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

They died alongside Lancashire ocean mapping PhD student Christopher Bell, 24, and 25-year-old junior doctor Una Finnegan originally from Co Antrim in Northern Ireland.

The four died on Saturday 19 January when an avalanche struck around 2pm without warning and swept them 1,000ft down the mountainside.

A fifth member of the party was hospitalised and a sixth person is thought to have survived after he used an ice axe to anchor himself after jumping clear.

Last month another climber died after falling more than 160 feet on Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain.

But the Mountaineering Council for Scotland (MCS) questioned the benefit of the webcams.

David Gibson – an MCS spokesman – said: “It’s great that politicians are taking an interest in mountain safety but webcams are more likely to encourage people without the sufficient skills and experience to venture onto the mountains.”

“We have a publicly funded avalanche service which provides excellent information and there is a mountain weather information service.”

 

 

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