Walkers warned after electric shocks on Perthshire mountain

Scottish walkers have been warned to take care after a young climber experienced an electric shock so strong it blackened his skin.

Schiehallion, Perthshire. Picture: TSPL
Schiehallion, Perthshire. Picture: TSPL

Rian Duncan, 12, was descending Schiehallion, in Perthshire, at the weekend with family, when the volt of electricity passed through his walking pole into his hand.

As well as leaving blackened skin on his hand, his family also experienced their hair standing on end.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Such experiences are considered precursors to lightning storms, leading mountain rescuers to issue a warning.

Ken Thomson, secretary of the Cairngorm Club, said: “This is an occasional happening on the Scottish hills. I have experienced this myself, particularly when carrying ice axes or poles, you get some humming in the iron.

“The best thing to do is to get away from your bits of ironmongery and take shelter in a hollow in the ground. There have certainly been fatalities in the Alps but I’ve not heard of one in Scotland.

“I would advise people to take it seriously and take the steps I just outlined. It is much less common than slips and falls, but it is not something to be ignored.”

Lorraine Duncan, 44, said on the ascent of Schiehallion a storm cloud had passed above them,.

The classroom assistant from Hartwood, North Lanarkshire, added: “On the walk down, coming down the hill our hair just started sticking up on end.

“My youngest son Rian had got a shock through his walking pole. There was a black mark on his hand. He threw the pole away. Then everyone started looking at me. There must have been about 12 other people around about

“My husband turned around and they all started laughing at me, my hair was sticking up on end.

“Everyone kept saying ‘you are going to get struck by lightning’ but there was no storm cloud. There was nothing at all.