Hill walking stupidity

A lot of casualties up here are not local.

2 theories.
A. They underestimate Scottish mountains.
Or
B. Locals can easily postpone a trip till the next weekend whereas tourists are usually on a strict time schedule.

Scottish highlands are further north than anywhere in mainland Europe and take the full fury of the North Atlantic weather systems, next stop is the Arctic.

Treat with deep respect.
 
A lot of casualties up here are not local.

2 theories.
A. They underestimate Scottish mountains.
Or
B. Locals can easily postpone a trip till the next weekend whereas tourists are usually on a strict time schedule.
Similar issue up our way with the weekend boaters, particularly kayakers for some reason, at the moment, . Trip has been organised and they have travelled a long way based on a pre-planned trip on a kayaking blog, so no matter what they are going on the water. Very often in it as it turns out. Despite at least 3 different kayaking/kayak fishing sites saying this is a good place for novices, a 5 knot tide and 3 metres swells around the head end are normal, with very few (if none for a 3 mile stretch), emergency landing sites.

Still, keeps me busy at a weekend.........
 
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We were on our way up Bidean Na Ban (Glencoe) in June when we were overtaken by a group of very lightly clad Fell runners. They were doing fine until it started to snow which it did like billy-oh for about half an hour.

Snug inside our goretex we felt very smug watching the retreat from the hill. Only a minor sin.
 
In October 1979 we were adventure training at Okehampton.
Dropped off by MK about 20 miles from camp with map and compass we were told where we were and to make our way back.
A simple stroll in the park until it started to snow and whited out.
I was ready to simply carry on following my compass bearing but Bazz W said no, we would find ourselves going in a large circle and get lost.
So he ran out in front, I put him on my bearing and we slowly walked in like that.
Got in about 100 metres from my target so very pleased.
Walked into the guardroom to report back and everybody was in there, ROS, ROO, the lot.
'What are you doing back?'
'Err, isn't that the idea?'
'We've has S+R out looking for you for hours'.
Yes I felt smug.
Reason for story for you much more experienced people, was Bazz correct or would simply walking in on the compass bearing have been enough.
 
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I'd go with Bazz. Leapfrog on a bearing as far as you can see. If you just follow a bearing you can slip left or right on the bearing. You're still go in the right direction but over time you can be many meters to the side.

Imagine you're on a slope which is across your bearing. The tendency is to slowly drop down the slope, even if you're going straight ahead. Soon you're way off to the side, miss your next landmark and keep on going off in the distance.
 
Similar issue up our way with the weekend boaters, particularly kayakers for some reason, at the moment, . Trip has been organised and they have travelled a long way based on a pre-planned trip on a kayaking blog, so no matter what they are going on the water. Very often in it as it turns out. Despite at least 3 different kayaking/kayak fishing sites saying this is a good place for novices, a 5 knot tide and 3 metres swells around the head end are normal, with very few (if none for a 3 mile stretch, emergency landing sites.

Still, keeps me busy at a weekend.........
They can get away with it sometimes

I've seen kids on a school trip visit the Corryvreckan whirlpool on a kayaking trip

They seemed to go there with more enthusiasm than I did, came a lot less prepared than our group, and all came back in one piece by the look of it
 
In October 1979 we were adventure training at Okehampton.
Dropped off by MK about 20 miles from camp with map and compass we were told where we were and to make our way back.
A simple stroll in the park until it started to snow and whited out.
I was ready to simply carry on following my compass bearing but Bazz W said no, we would find ourselves going in a large circle and get lost.
So he ran out in front, I put him on my bearing and we slowly walked in like that.
Got in about 100 metres from my target so very pleased.
Walked into the guardroom to report back and everybody was in there, ROS, ROO, the lot.
'What are you doing back?'
'Err, isn't that the idea?'
'We've has S+R out looking for you for hours'.
Yes I felt smug.
Reason for story for you much more experienced people, was Bazz correct or would simply walking in on the compass bearing have been enough.
I'd go with Baz but his technique works best with three people.
 
They can get away with it sometimes

I've seen kids on a school trip visit the Corryvreckan whirlpool on a kayaking trip

They seemed to go there with more enthusiasm than I did, came a lot less prepared than our group, and all came back in one piece by the look of it
That's part of the problem though, isn't it? They go ill equipped, ill prepared, poorly trained etc., then post or blog about it all over social media, encouraging others to do the same (That's how our patch of coast got marked as a good spot for novices....). They may have been lucky but eventually someone following their example comes a cropper and end up (if they are lucky) being a rescue.
 
Chris Bonnington reckons Scottish mountains are more dangerous than the alps.

Technical climbing aside, very few alpine areas have weather change as quickly or have as varied weather as Scotland. It makes for a very dangerous snowpack and hard to pack for the weather.

Very easy to underestimate if you’re used to technically difficult mountains in the alps. Very easy to get caught out when it starts raining and your gully turns to slush.
 
In October 1979 we were adventure training at Okehampton.
Dropped off by MK about 20 miles from camp with map and compass we were told where we were and to make our way back.
A simple stroll in the park until it started to snow and whited out.
I was ready to simply carry on following my compass bearing but Bazz W said no, we would find ourselves going in a large circle and get lost.
So he ran out in front, I put him on my bearing and we slowly walked in like that.
Got in about 100 metres from my target so very pleased.
Walked into the guardroom to report back and everybody was in there, ROS, ROO, the lot.
'What are you doing back?'
'Err, isn't that the idea?'
'We've has S+R out looking for you for hours'.
Yes I felt smug.
Reason for story for you much more experienced people, was Bazz correct or would simply walking in on the compass bearing have been enough.
Night nav ex a while back on SPTA to be completed as individuals. A proper fog ensued with visibility down to about 20m if that at times.
Luckily managed to establish my position when it was really bad by finding the corner of a distinctive shaped plantation and track junction. I was confident enough with my nav skills to head for the next checkpoint GR cross country rather than stick to the tracks, which would have been the sensible option given the conditions but adding many more clicks to my route.
I took a bearing from the map and off I bimbled. I could see nothing but thick fog all around me, so identifying landmarks or references was totally out of the question. After walking for about 100m in a direct, straight line, I checked my compass bearing. It was off. I lined myself up again and off I walked again in a dead straight line. 100m or so later, checked my compass again. The bearing was off again the same amount as before.
My first thought was that my compass was wrong as I was convinced I had been walking in a straight line. I walked on again for a third time and did another check after about 60-70m. The bearing was again off but not quite as much as before. I was therefore the problem, not my compass. Where I was convinced I was walking in a straight line, I was actually drifting off to the left.
After that I held the compass in front of me, staring at the needle until I made the next checkpoint a dozen or so clicks later!
You often hear stories of people getting lost in the desert or the outback, walking for days and then ending up back where they started. After that, I could see why.
A very valuable lesson was demonstrated that night.
 
My father always told me we do not have normal Seasons in Northumberland just weather as it is not unusual to have all the Seasons in one day .
Sighs wistfully; Ah the joys of Otterburn.
I remember walking a stretch of Hadrians wall too a few years ago, camping out at night in April, the temperature dropped below zero, so cold that I wore a full soft shell suit and stuffed spare clothing into the the scratcher to fill the air gaps, the day after the weather was warm enough for shorts and t-shirt.
 
Night nav ex a while back on SPTA to be completed as individuals. A proper fog ensued with visibility down to about 20m if that at times.
Luckily managed to establish my position when it was really bad by finding the corner of a distinctive shaped plantation and track junction. I was confident enough with my nav skills to head for the next checkpoint GR cross country rather than stick to the tracks, which would have been the sensible option given the conditions but adding many more clicks to my route.
I took a bearing from the map and off I bimbled. I could see nothing but thick fog all around me, so identifying landmarks or references was totally out of the question. After walking for about 100m in a direct, straight line, I checked my compass bearing. It was off. I lined myself up again and off I walked again in a dead straight line. 100m or so later, checked my compass again. The bearing was off again the same amount as before.
My first thought was that my compass was wrong as I was convinced I had been walking in a straight line. I walked on again for a third time and did another check after about 60-70m. The bearing was again off but not quite as much as before. I was therefore the problem, not my compass. Where I was convinced I was walking in a straight line, I was actually drifting off to the left.
After that I held the compass in front of me, staring at the needle until I made the next checkpoint a dozen or so clicks later!
You often hear stories of people getting lost in the desert or the outback, walking for days and then ending up back where they started. After that, I could see why.
A very valuable lesson was demonstrated that night.
One of the simplest and most effective lessons in basic navigation and route following, with regard to trying to stay on course in poor visibility is to line a group of people up on a safe, open area like a sports field and get them to try to walk 100m with their eyes closed and stay in a straight line. The results speak for themselves.
 
You often hear stories of people getting lost in the desert or the outback, walking for days and then ending up back where they started. After that, I could see why.
A very valuable lesson was demonstrated that night.
I always treated the desert with respect, at it ws very easy to get lost.

I was out camping one night, and about midnight had to decide to return home. The heat was still too much, and would have been silly to stay out overnight.

Pulling my tent and kit off the dune I was camped on, in the darkness I got turned around and couldn't find the base of the dune where I'd stuck my vehicle. Fortunately, I decided to STOP (Stop, Think, Orientate and Plan) rather than flap. Having a think and some water gave me the chance to work out what I had done.

So, dropping my kit by the intersection of some clear tracks, I retraced my route and recovered the vehicle. I then went back and got my kit.

All of this was no further than possible a 500m to 1km radius, but without careful attention to what features there were; I could have been in for a very uncomfortable night.

The desert under moonlight has an almost lunar quality to it, I really enjoyed my time there. The stars were beyond my ability to describe, I danced alone under the Perseid meteor shower enjoying the streaks of cosmic light above me. In the mornings I would read the tracks on the sands, to spot the snakes and other wildlife that had gone through my camp.

A cloud gathers, the rain falls, men live; the cloud disperses without rain, and men and animals die. In the deserts of southern Arabia there is no rhythm of the seasons, no rise and fall of sap, but empty wastes where only the changing temperature marks the passage of the years. It is a bitter, desiccated land which knows nothing of gentleness or ease…..No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.
Arabian Sands, by Wilfred Thesiger
 
I always treated the desert with respect, at it ws very easy to get lost.

I was out camping one night, and about midnight had to decide to return home. The heat was still too much, and would have been silly to stay out overnight.

Pulling my tent and kit off the dune I was camped on, in the darkness I got turned around and couldn't find the base of the dune where I'd stuck my vehicle. Fortunately, I decided to STOP (Stop, Think, Orientate and Plan) rather than flap. Having a think and some water gave me the chance to work out what I had done.

So, dropping my kit by the intersection of some clear tracks, I retraced my route and recovered the vehicle. I then went back and got my kit.

All of this was no further than possible a 500m to 1km radius, but without careful attention to what features there were; I could have been in for a very uncomfortable night.

The desert under moonlight has an almost lunar quality to it, I really enjoyed my time there. The stars were beyond my ability to describe, I danced alone under the Perseid meteor shower enjoying the streaks of cosmic light above me. In the mornings I would read the tracks on the sands, to spot the snakes and other wildlife that had gone through my camp.
Should have got a second like for quoting Wilfred Thesiger. I read Arabian sands when I was 11. Brilliant book.
 
Should have got a second like for quoting Wilfred Thesiger. I read Arabian sands when I was 11. Brilliant book.
Having just got back from sandy places, I was smiling that a bit of post waiting for me was the Folio Society's hard-case "Seven Pillars of Wisdom".

Comes with forewards written by Thesiger and Michael Asher (biographer of both Thesiger and Lawrence).

Pure Arabist porn.
 
Having just got back from sandy places, I was smiling that a bit of post waiting for me was the Folio Society's hard-case "Seven Pillars of Wisdom".

Comes with forewards written by Thesiger and Michael Asher (biographer of both Thesiger and Lawrence).

Pure Arabist porn.
I have a copy of Seven Pillars.
I think it is page 27 where Lawrence says that not one drop of British blood was shed and that was right because the whole thing was not worth it. That is badly quoted I know. So far I have not got past that as it is racist which was very rare for British officers serving alongside native troops.
I will give it another go and close my eyes at that point.
I have dipped into it when it is quoted and found it very good reading.
 
I have dipped into it when it is quoted and found it very good reading.
His work is heavy reading, but a valuable read.

Probably a topic for another thread, but Asher's biography of Lawrence is a very valuable work (not least for Lawrence's being economical with the actualité).
 

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