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Western Beacons Mountain Rescue Team Leader offers important winter hill walking advice

28 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. Picture Nation.Cymru

The Team Leader of Western Beacons Mountain Rescue has offered some useful advice to walkers as the weather worsens and many of us are making the most of the Christmas and New Year break.

Writing on the day after the winter solstice, the shortest daylight hours of the year, Neil Butcher’s mind turned to the items he believes are the most important pieces of equipment walkers should take in their rucksacks while out in the hills, particularly in the winter with short days.

‘Take an extra turkey sandwich’

Mr Butcher said: “If you are hill walking during this festive holiday period it is best to be prepared for your trip, and to avoid the need to call us.”

In addition to boots and warm, waterproof clothing, according to the Mountain Rescue team leader, the ‘gold standard contents of your rucksack’ should be:

  • Food, and because it’s colder this time of year it would be a good idea to take an extra turkey sandwich and some Christmas cake
  • A flask of warm drink or water, a hat and gloves
  • A fully charged phone, maybe even a power bank
  • Torch & spare batteries (or spare torch)
  • A map and compass and the ability to use them (paper maps don’t run out of battery unlike Google maps)
  • Whistle
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Emergency bivvy bag

He added: “Remember to give yourself plenty of time for your adventure, and leave details of your route, and expected time of return with a trustworthy person, and at what time to call for help.”

Keep safe

Importantly, he pointed out that “this is not a guide to hill walking, just a few words of advice to help keep you safe this holiday time and for the rest of the year.”

Closing his statement, he wished walkers “a very merry Christmas and a safe time in the hills, for all the year, not just the New Year.”

And cheekily added: “Keep safe and I hope not to meet you.”

In an emergency, call 999 and ask for police and the mountain rescue team.

Further specific advice on individual walks and planning for specific conditions should be sought before any walk. See Eryri National Park’s safety advice for just one example.

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1 month ago

Or …… stay off the Bannau until conditions improve. Give us a break so the rescue team can tuck into their festive grub in peace for a change.

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