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Mountain rescue highlights importance of safety and good equipment

Posted 13 September 2012
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Mountain rescue highlights importance of safety and good equipment
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Britain has some fantastic mountains and peaks and there is nothing nicer than setting off to climb them at the weekends with friends or family members.

However, it is vital to consider safety before donning walking boots and setting off on a trip, as a fun day out can quickly turn frightening in the wrong conditions and with the wrong equipment.

This was recently demonstrated in the Lake District, where two separate mountain rescue incidents had to be implemented to save stricken walkers and cyclists, Grough reports.

On Monday (September 10th), three women became disoriented on the Coniston Fells when bad weather set in and left them stranded.

Coniston Mountain Rescue Team found them uninjured but shaken up near the summit of Great How Crag and they were led back down to safety.

Just a day later, the team was called out again when two mountain bikers got lost the dark in Grizedale Forest.

Many other mountain rescue services have noted a rise in the number of call-outs lately, which could be due to people being unprepared when they head into the great outdoors.

Although it is good to embrace a new hobby such as hiking, it is vital not to ignore basic safety procedures when going off on a trip.

Telling at least one person the destination is a must so rescuers will know where to look in case of an emergency, while checking the weather forecast is also essential.

If the weather is bad, postponing the trip would be wise, as fog and dense cloud can quickly set in at high altitudes and lead to disorientation.

Having the right equipment such as good walking boots, a rucksack and navigation equipment should also not be ignored, as ordinary footwear can lead to falls and it is surprisingly easy ot get lost in unfamiliar territory.

Don't rely on GPS on mobile phones either, as Ochils Mountain Rescue Team secretary Tom Lockie recently said it is useless in a rural setting.

"We have previously and still do, urge walkers to ensure that they are proficient in the use of a map and compass before venturing into the hills and mountains," he told Grough.

It is important not to be fearful of the countryside, but being sensible and safe can mean the difference between a fantastic trip and a very bad one.