Help Busy Mountain Rescuers By Being Prepared

Some people think that winter is a time to stay indoors and keep warm, but others will be well aware of the joys that can be had from getting into the great outdoors at this time of year.

Whether it is the scenic snow on the hills, the chance to make the most of the limited daylight, or an opportunity to burn off some of that Christmas excess, the great outdoors offers wonderful prospects in winter.

However, it is vital to be well prepared, especially with warm clothing such as thermals and base layers to deal with the cold, the right footwear, a map and compass and a torch, the latter being especially important when the days are so short.

The consequences of people failing to take the right precautions has been revealed by Mountain Rescue teams all over Britain, who have had an exceptionally busy 2021 thanks to staycationing Britons, some of whom have taken to the hills without the knowledge, experience or equipment to stay out of trouble.

Chairperson of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association Richard Warren told BBC Radio Cumbria the organisation’s teams had a “chaotic” Christmas period at the end of a year in which no less than 680 call-outs were received. He added that the start of 2022 has been “just as busy”.

The experience of Lake District Mountain Rescue teams is matched by those of other areas. The Yorkshire Post revealed this week that hill and river rescue teams in the county dedicated over 10,000 hours to rescues in 2021, while the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team recorded their busiest year on record.

Speaking to the Chronicle Live, Iain Nixon, the leader of the Northumberland team, said the pandemic has been a major factor behind the increase.

This means there are “more people who are doing different forms of exercise and wanting to seek more adventurous activity away from the cities and urbanised areas and they're travelling to the countryside”.

He advised those heading for the outdoors to be well-prepared, check the weather forecast and be able to navigate.

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