The Dangers of Outdoor Exploration
There are few things more gratifying than making the most of the short summer that we enjoy in Britain. And while the warm weather offers the perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors, hiking famous trails and experiencing the island’s most beautiful natural landscapes, it is important to consider that the wilderness is named as such for a reason, and can sometimes turn out to be far more wild than you were expecting.
Weather-related risks should always be a concern. The sun carries the danger of sunstroke, not to mention dehydration. A common mistake, however, is to see the bright sun and dress for a summer’s day: you should always consider that as soon as darkness begins to creep in, the temperature can rapidly drop. You run the risk of hypothermia if you do not wear or pack clothes that will insulate your body heat.
Unstable rocks and well-hidden cliff edges should always be on your mind when out hiking. You should also be aware of any roads which you may encounter on your trail. Country roads carry very low visibility for drivers, so always approach them with caution. Equipping yourself with detailed and up-to-date maps will solve this problem. Food and water should always be carried for hydration and energy, as should a first aid kit to help with any wounds or injuries you may sustain.
When exploring the outdoors, access to medical care and emergency help can be severely limited. Forests will obstruct cellular signals, and even so, pin-pointing your location to emergency services in the vast wilderness can still prove difficult for seasoned orienteers. However, institutions such as the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) are comprised of volunteers who provide emergency services for those out of reach from the traditional services routes. They are self-funded and work in their free time, often paying for specialist equipment themselves. Mountain rescue teams are the unsung heroes of the great outdoors.
Outdoor equipment specialist Above and Beyond has recently announced a partnership with NNPMRT, which will see them provide the latest versions of every OS map to the voluntary organisation, and donate 5p for each one sold. In return, NNPMRT will provide sound and practical advice for staying safe outdoors, as well as continuing to act as the guardian angels of the wilderness.