If you’re a regular blog reader, it will be no surprise to hear us talking about safety. We launched National Map Reading Week last year and talk about safety tips every single year. So you can imagine how dismayed we were to read this:
When you also know that Mountain Rescue England & Wales (MREW) attended 1,812 callouts last year, up 170 on 2015, and that 500 of those callouts were avoidable, and reasons include people getting lost…then you can see why we keep talking about safety.
We’ve teamed up with MREW to make the great outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe for all, by encouraging everyone to be more mindful and better prepared when heading outside. Why? Because MREW’s 2016 callout figures showed incidents to be up for the fourth year running. And our own survey of 2,000 outdoors enthusiasts revealed 76% of British recreational walkers and hikers do not properly plan their route or what to pack in preparation of their walk/hike.
We often talk about safety tips to help you #GetOutside in the winter, but there are some equally important things to think about for summer safety in the great outdoors. More of us are inspired to explore in the summer, and particularly with our families over the summer holidays, so follow these summer safety tips from #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall to keep safe when you’re out and about.
Whether you’re planning some gentle rambles with the family, dipping your toe into the world of navigation for the first time, or looking for a serious #GetOutside challenge, chances are that OS can help you along the way. We have a whole host of tools, products and services, many of them brand new, to make your #GetOutside adventure easier.
New Three Peaks Challenge map
Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon attract around 700,000 visitors each year with 30,000 of those visiting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge. Most challengers are aiming to climb England, Scotland and Wales’ highest three peaks in 24 hours, generally timing their walks between April and October each year.
To lighten the load, we’ve worked with the Three Peaks Partnership to create the Three Peaks Challenge map to make it easier, safer and more enjoyable for individuals to take part in the Challenge. Using our OS Explorer map data, the map is divided into four areas, three sections mapping the peaks and the fourth section is a road map covering all three locations. The map provides challengers with all the mapping they need in one place. Rather than carrying three maps, only one is needed and it includes a recommended route, plus co-ordinates for the start of the routes. Find out more on our website.
New OS compasses available
In case you missed it, we’ve been celebrating #TrigPillar80 this week, marking 80 years since the lovely trig pillar was first used to help us map out Britain. Although we no longer need the trig pillar to map the country, now using newer technology, the trig pillar remains as a British icon, guiding the way for explorers of the great outdoors.
#GetOutside and bag a trig pillar
The trig pillar can now be seen in many a photo, showcasing the British countryside and marking the high point of a walk. We asked our #GetOutside champions whether they had a favourite trig pillar to bag when out walking, fell-running and cycling and they came up trumps with some real beauties. From the wonderfully named Doughnot Hill in Scotland, to the Isle of Man to Dartmoor, our champions picked their best spot to bag a trig.
Do you have what it takes to become a #GetOutside champion? Along with wildlife presenter Steve Backshall, endurance adventurer Sean Conway and Everest climber Bonita Norris, can you inspire others to get outside and get active? We’re looking for 12 official #GetOutside champions who can represent Ordnance Survey with their true #GetOutside spirit.
Navigating your way around is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast and being able to confidently use a map is a vital skill which everyone should have before setting off on an outdoors adventure. Research shows that the skill of map reading is in decline and our #GetOutside champion, Steve Backshall, is helping us to reverse that trend.
Steve says: I’m always with a penknife, map and compass. I’m an OS map user in a big way. It’s almost a daily thing. I’m enormously proud of OS. Its level of cover in this country is extraordinary. I think it’s something that, hand on heart, Brits do better than anyone else.
Map reading is a skill that’s dying out. Everyone should be able to read with a map and compass. It can and will save lives.
We’ve had some fantastic #GetOutside pledges rolling in over the last week, covering everything from skydiving to jumping in puddles. We’ve been thrilled that you’re all so keen to #GetOutside and we’ve just picked the first prize draw winners too.
Our main pledge to you is to have 1 million walking routes in OS Maps in two years time. But – we also want to help you achieve your pledges. To do that, we’ll be doing a draw each week and awarding prizes. We’ve picked five at random this week – and the prizes went in the post yesterday.