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Mountain Rescue team in map warning as days shorten

Posted 8 October 2012
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Mountain Rescue team in map warning as days shorten
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Of all the Mountain Rescue teams (MRTs) in England, Wasdale has the most challenging job. Its beat includes the two highest peaks in the country and several more not far short of 3,000 ft.

Moreover, it is not just height that matters, as anybody heading for the hills there in their walking boots will know. The terrain is rugged and often bouldery, the ascents and descents steep, while dangerous cliffs and crags abound.

England's highest land is, therefore, not to be messed with. But despite this, many people do make the mistake of seeking out these lofty places without being equipped as they should.

The importance of Ordnance Survey Maps is something that cannot be underestimated. In cloud, navigation can be difficult even in the light summer months, but the situation is so much worse when the daylight is not so bright. In autumn and winter, errors can leave people still up a mountain when it starts to go dark.

Just such an incident occurred on Friday (October 5th), when the Wasdale team was called out to the Cam Spot area on Scafell, the second highest peak (3,164 ft). A group of three walkers had lost their way and, attempting to descend to Seathwaite in Borrowdale via the Corridor Route, they had ended up descending in the opposite direction, towards Eskdale.

Unable to find their way, the group called Wasdale MRT and five members went up the mountain in darkness to help the trio walk down to Eskdale.

The walkers were located using GPS technology, via one of their Smartphones.

But if that may suggest such devices are useful in pinpointing positions, Wasdale MRT's log of the incident noted this clearly was not enough. It stated: "The group did not a have suitable torch or map. At this time of year the nights are upon us very quickly, please take a decent torch out with you!"

This should be a clear enough indication that there is no substitute for a good walking map. Those who like to go walking should note that as the days get shorter, torches will become an increasingly vital piece of kit. This will be even more important after the clocks go back on October 28th.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801464769-ADNFCR