Winter walking / Getting into trouble on the fells.

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By Lancashire Lad on 10/01/18 at 8:24pm (last edited 06/03/19 at 5:29pm)

Re: Walk=Lakes blog posts: - and

Unfortunately, it is an impossible conundrum - Those who are ignorant of the potential dangers do not know that they are ignorant of the potential dangers!

One would like to think that it shouldn't take genius IQ level to realise that appropriate clothing, equipment, and not least skills for the likely conditions, might be a good idea when contemplating going onto the high fells - at any time of year, let alone the middle of winter!

Seemingly not so, by witness of the many people who do just that.

I was up on Striding Edge on Sunday (7th Jan.), and carried with me all of the kit which I consider to be essential for peace of mind when my own safety is paramount. - Unfortunately, I saw several people up there who were categorically not equipped for the prevailing conditions. (Very small day-packs that couldn't possibly have contained suitable spare clothing and equipment), no ice-axes, no crampons, and wearing trainer type footwear!)

My standard kit - even in the height of summer, includes: map, compass, (plus of late, a GPS unit), first-aid kit, whistle, bivvy bag, fully charged mobile phone (emergency SMS registered), hooded waterproof jacket, waterproof over-trousers, spare laces, a small roll (2 or 3 metres) of strong duct tape and a few cable ties, walking poles, along with appropriate clothing, good strong walking boots, food and drinks (and/or drinking water filter).

In addition, in winter, with snow & ice on the fells, my kit always includes: winter grade boots, gaiters, hat/balaclava, gloves (& spare gloves), insulated hooded windproof jacket, head torch & spare batteries (plus a small spare torch to facilitate the changing of head torch batteries if needs be, in pitch darkness!), snow goggles, ice-axe, climbing crampons, plus micro-spikes (for the long iced-up gravelly paths & pitched paths regularly encountered).

Some might consider my attitude to be "over the top", but as a mainly solo fell-walker, I would rather carry something and not need it, than need it and not have it with me!

Even with all the appropriate gear, and the skills to use it correctly, I would be the first to admit that genuine accidents can and do occur. - But having the necessary equipment and skills, can undoubtedly mitigate the situation as far as possible. And without question, can completely remove the "avoidable call outs", which are escalating year on year, and which take up so much time and resource of the Mountain Rescue Teams.

Luckily, in all of my years of fell-walking, I've only had one serious incident, which occurred almost two years ago. - For anyone who's interested, details of that little episode can be seen here:- ... be74#p5307 - (Read the post dated Sunday Feb 14, 2016 12:46 pm).

My point is, that calling out the Mountain Rescue Team should be the final resort, when all other options for "self-rescue" have run out. Initiating an "avoidable call-out", brought about by lack of planning, lack of appropriate equipment and skills, or carrying on regardless when the conditions should obviously dictate otherwise, should be a matter of great personal shame, and not something which is done lightly or summarily as a "get me out of jail card".

But the problem remains. - How do we educate the type of folks who don't read forums like this, who don't have the necessary skills or appropriate equipment and clothing? Those who are completely ignorant of the potential dangers, but who will just continue, in increasing numbers, to go up onto the high fells anyway?

Regards, Mike.

By Lancashire Lad on 13/02/18 at 2:27pm

Just stumbled upon this article via the WalkHighlands website: - ... s/0017646/

The article is written from the perspective of Hillwalking / Mountaineering in Scotland, but the common sense advice related therein is equally valid when considering the same activities in the Lake District.

If followed, such advice could prevent numerous people from getting into trouble in the first place, and making these otherwise wholly unnecessary "avoidable call-outs" to mountain rescue teams: -

If you are thinking of walking on the fells, you should be aware of, and follow the advice contained in this: - ... ll2017.pdf (And preferably have a printed copy with you when you are out there!).

Stay safe on the fells folks! ;)

Regards, Mike.

WalkLakes recognises that hill walking, or walking in the mountains, is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.