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.
There have been a number of articles in the press this summer noting an increase in call outs for rescue teams across Britain. The Mail Online reported that Lochaber Mountain Rescue in Scotland are usually called out between 70 and 100 times a year, but by mid-August had already dealt with 103 alerts in 2015. Meanwhile MSN and the Express spoke to volunteers with the Coniston Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District who had already been sent into action 44 times this year – more than in the whole of 2014.
The common theme amongst the stories is an increasing reliance on electronic devices and lack of basic map-reading skills and preparation. So what can we all do to ease the load on the amazing teams that help keep us safe? We don’t want to put anyone off. Britain is a beautiful place and we should all do more to #GetOutside and explore our country, but it could pay to stop and think before you do it. If you’re off for a stroll in your local park, chances are that you’ll be fine without a map and wearing your shorts and T-shirt, but if you’re planning a longer walk, a hike into the hills or visiting a place for the first time, read these five safety tips for walkers.