Snowsports Warning For Holyrood Park Issued

Submitted by edg on Wed, 8 Dec '10 11.06pm

Following on from last week's avalanche warning for Arthur's Seat, members of the public are being warned against the dangers of some snowsport activities in Holyrood Park after  several incidents and injuries on the hill in the last week.

Holyrood Park is large, steep, and relatively devoid of trees, making it an attractive winter playground after the recent dump of snow. The public park is also easily accessed from many parts of the city centre, including the Old Town

Since the first Edinburgh snowfalls arrived at the end of November, large numbers of people have being playing in the snow. Some have been using skis, snowboards and makeshift sledges, using inflatable dinghies, metal signs, bin bags and even canoes.

Historic Scotland says that there have been reports of ski-ers and snowboarders launching off the Radical Road and other high areas of the park into the way of other members of the public and in some cases into oncoming traffic.

"Although we understand that people want to get out and enjoy the snow, it is important that this is done safely and responsibly," said Martin Gray Visitors Service Manager for Historic Scotland Rangers Service.

“We would completely discourage skiers and boarders from launching themselves off crag faces and creating make-shift jumps, as this is both irresponsible and endangers themselves and other park users," said  Gray.

“We would also encourage sledgers to use purpose built sledges and stick to the lower slopes of the park were there is less chance of picking up the sort of speed that could result in serious injury to themselves or other people.”

Rangers, Police, and ambulance staff have received a number of calls from people asking for assistance when they have got into difficulties, putting unnecessary strain on already stretched resources.

In once incident at the weekend, emergency services were hindered from removing a seriously injured sledger from the hill because skiers and snowboarders continued to come down the hill at speed.

Historic Scotland’s Ranger Service has increased patrols across the park during the cold snap and has been speaking to members of the public to raise awareness of the risks.

Inspector Nadine Aliane from Lothian and Borders Police said: 

“Holyrood Park is a popular area for people to enjoy the snow however the festive weather conditions mean our resources are being stretched to the limit."

“Accidents caused by irresponsible behaviour can divert resources from serious incidents and put lives at risk."