Mountain rescue and numpties: thoughts off the record

Mountain rescue. A service that anyone who does serious hill walking hopes never to need – but one I think we are all very glad to know is there.

I was prompted to write this post by a newspaper article I’ve seen shared over Facebook. A climber got stuck on Blaven on Skye and had to be rescued. There seems no doubt about the fact he was woefully under equipped or prepared; Skye is probably the most challenging mountain terrain in Britain, and definitely not a place for the inexperienced and unwary. The terrain is rocky, and most of the routes involve a degree of scrambling, and even rock climbing. It’s not somewhere you want to muck about, and most people have to hire a guide to tackle at least some of the hills. The fact that the rock is gabbro (and therefore magnetic) also means the compass doesn’t work. Not that the bloke in the article seems to have had one, but if he had it probably wouldn’t have made much difference. The story – like another recent one of a girl who narrowly escaped hypothermia on Ben Nevis – had a happy ending; not all such stories do. But MRT give of their time, as volunteers, to provide a vital rescue service for those that go out into the hills – whether they are prepared or not.  Continue reading

There are hills within the M25? Er, sort of..

What do you do with a nice evening after work? The normal person’s answer might be to sit in the garden with a glass of wine, find a nice beer garden or some such. What did I do? I decided to see what the South-East has that passes for hills..

A few years ago, I realised after walking a section of the North Downs Way that I had passed a hill (of sorts) that is classed as a Marilyn, i.e. a hill of more than 150m with a drop and reascent of 150m to a higher hill. I had literally been about 200 yards from the trig point and not done anything about it. To be honest, I hadn’t realised that the South-East had any classified hills. So off I had pottered on the North Downs Way leaving the thing unticked. Continue reading

Wainwright Walks 21: Mini fells and Mega bogs

Hills: Loughrigg, Gowbarrow Fell, Sallows, Sour Howes

I think it’s fair to say that after the weather we had on our first visit to the Lakes this year – which was nothing short of great – normal service had to be resumed eventually! We were heading back to Ambleside after a hectic 3 days of meetings for two nights in the Salutation and then a week in a gorgeous cottage which we had been to before. The forecast was however ‘mixed’ with low pressure and strong winds predominating. Now one thing I’m not keen on is walking in rubbish weather and whilst a decent waterproof will keep out the rain there isn’t much that can be done about wind. Fortunately the Lake District has plenty of interesting smaller hills to tackle when the bigger ones are likely to be a little bit too ‘interesting’.. Continue reading