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Farmer to rescue for ill-equipped walkers

Posted 6 March 2012
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Farmer to rescue for ill-equipped walkers
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The importance of carrying navigational equipment when out walking like a map or compass is something experienced outdoor lovers will be well aware of, just as they know how vital walking boots, waterproofs and enough food and water are.

But for some, a trip into the outdoors could leave them biting off more than they can chew. Time and again it is the ill-equipped who run into trouble and need Mountain Rescue to help them out.

One of the latest cases of this occurred in the Brecon Beacons, where four women from Oxford went for a walk near Usk Reservoir last Friday (March 2nd). They took no map and compass and subsequently got lost, eventually calling 999 when it got dark.

Deputy team leader at Brecon Mountain Rescue Team Mark Jones told outdoor website Grough: "The women had got lost earlier and asked at a local farm for directions before carrying on their walk. However the farmer became concerned and went out to look for them on his quad bike.

"He reached them after spotting a light from their mobile phone. He was able to give us their exact location."

So thanks to the initiative of the local farmer, the story had a happy ending, as the ladies were rescued. But Mr Jones emphasised that the importance of a map, compass and torch can never be overstated.

And the Usk incident is not the only one of this type to occur around Britain in the past few months.  

For example, in January, head of Central Scotland Police Kevin Findlater was scathing over the actions of a man who climbed the 2,884 ft Corbett Ben Ledi without a map and compass. In that instance, the climber was an experienced walker who was familiar with the mountain, but was caught out by the wintry weather. Chief inspector Findlater called this action "inexcusable" and noted it risked the lives of others seeking to rescue him.

And in England a couple who were similarly familiar with Cross Fell in the northern Pennines got lost when they went up without a map, as did a man climbing Scafell Pike similarly under-equipped.

In all cases, Mountain Rescue teams emphasised the need to be well equipped. And while the next few months may bring fewer weather hazards and poor light, it is a lesson walkers would do well to heed.