Summer Safety

Enjoy Your Summer and Keep Safe in the Outer Hebrides

A special feature by singer and musician, Julie Fowlis, on behalf of the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership.

Summer is a time when the Outer Hebrides really comes to life. I love to return home and get the chance to spend time outdoors, and if you’re a first time visitor to these islands be prepared to experience some spectacular scenery, wildlife and culture.

As a mother myself, I can understand why many families come to visit the islands – there is so much to do and see, and most of it in relative safety too. It’s very important though to be aware – the weather can change in an instant and calm sea or a sunny hillside can change very quickly.

With your safety in mind, ‘Safetywise’ the local accident awareness and prevention group and member of the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership, has produced Route Cards (410.4kB) for those venturing out to the hills or onto the water.

The purpose of the cards is for people to leave notification as to where they are going, their precise route, anticipated time of return and any other relevant information.

Completed cards would then be left with for example their Guest House Owner, Hotel Manager, Camp site Warden etc. with the instruction to contact Police Scotland should they fail to return, or make contact, within a designated time frame. Police Scotland would in turn raise an alert with the appropriate emergency services. 

Surfing in the Hebrides

© VisitScotland

The introduction of the cards has been warmly welcomed by local emergency services personnel, John Norfolk from Hebrides Search and Rescue commented,
“As a Mountain Rescue Team we fully support the route card scheme. It is a positive, proactive step towards improving safety for those enjoying the incredible outdoors. The weather on the islands can be extreme and changeable and anyone can get caught out by it, tourist or locals alike.

Filling out a route card can be a life saver and will reduce the impact of any emergency situation as it narrows down the potential area we may have to search and will vastly improve how quickly we can reach you. Route cards can and have saved lives.

Downloadable versions of the ‘Route Cards’ will also be made available via Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and via Community Safety Partners individual websites; particularly those concerned with tourism. 

Hebrides Search and Rescue

© Hebrides Search and Rescue

Councillor Charlie Nicolson, Chair of the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership added, “The key message we wish to convey to you is to prepare yourself as much as possible before setting out, make sure you have the necessary equipment for the hills and crucially an appropriate life vest for all on water activities” So the message is fortune favours those who prepare.

Làithen – saora, sàbhailte, sona dhuibh uile! (Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!)

Julie Fowlis

For additional summer safety advice, please see: Summer Safety (5.1MB)