Accompanied with our tips on how to stay safe in the mountains, Mountain Rescue has forewarned hikers in England and Wales about being caught out on the mountain after nightfall in a Telegraph article this week.
Termed “benighting”, Mountain Rescue has said that with the clocks going back, there is an annual spike in walkers or climbers needing to be rescued around this time of year.
Due to rescues taking longer in the dark, October had the highest average number of rescuer hours last year. Across the board, the number of mountain call-outs has risen gradually over the last five years from 1,080 in 2012 to 1,467 last year.
“If you want to get out into the mountains and enjoy the same amount of daylight, you need to set out an hour earlier,” said Rob Shepherd, Mountain Rescue stats officer and a member of the team in Llanberis, Snowdonia, one of the busiest regions in England and Wales for rescues.
Below, mountain safety expert and OS GetOutside Champion Jason Rawles shares his tips for staying safe when outside at this time of year.
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.
Mainland Britain is home to some 94 mountains – which in this example are those that have been identified having a relative height of 600 metres or more. When taking into account the smaller Marilyns (which have a relative height of at least 150 metres), the total grows to a staggering 1,551.
All this makes for a huge area for Brits to get out and explore. There’s the attraction of taking in some breathtaking views from the summit, not to mention the practice of so-called ‘munro bagging’, where avid climbers tick off mountains they’ve scaled in a bid to cover them all.
One of my colleagues volunteers for a local Search and Rescue team and I caught up with Phil to find out more about the role…
Have you ever switched on the TV and caught the tail end of a news item showing Search and Rescue (SAR) teams scouring the countryside for missing people? These teams are usually made up of locally trained volunteers who are ‘on call’. UK teams include both lowland SAR and mountain SAR teams, but both have the similar objectives – to quickly locate missing and vulnerable people, usually at the request of the local police force. The police can call the teams 24/7, 365 days a year to carry out searches.