Mountain dangers – am I safety-conscious enough in the mountains?
I head out into the mountains near my Lake District home every week. I love the adventure, excitement and tranquility. But I rarely think about how dangerous and unforgiving mountains can be. I had a stark reminder of this recently when I witnessed a helicopter rescue in the Langdale Pikes. The injured woman, who fell near Dungeon Ghyll and broke her leg, was airlifted to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance. Thank God it wasn’t anything worse.
Watching the helicopter circle several times and then land high up in the hills really hit home that you must always respect the fells. I like to think I’m pretty safety conscious – I carry a map and compass (and know how to use them), tell my wife where I’m going, and without fail have hat, gloves, down jacket and waterproofs stashed in my rucksack. But I guess I could do more (cue me googling “mountain safety”). I don’t want to end up in a helicopter after all.
Besides the drama I had a brilliant day in the fells. I hiked the so-called Greater Traverse, which is a bit of an epic, ticking off several summits (Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle and Pike O’Stickle) and notching up a leg-burning 17.2km and more than 1,000m of ascent.