The nights are now drawing in and the shorter days are with us for the next few months, and not forgetting the clocks going back on Sunday 29th October. But that doesn’t mean that the countryside is out of bounds, it just means you need to be properly prepared. Here are a few key safety considerations before venturing out onto the hills and moors.
Firstly, be aware of the time. Make sure you start your journey early enough to complete the route in daylight, and be aware what time it gets dark, allowing plenty time to get home safely, even if the weather changes for the worst. Plan your day and route carefully and let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be out.
Have a map and compass with you…and have the ability to use them! Navigation is much harder at night and darkness changes everything. Route finding becomes more difficult, not forgetting to mention being able to see where you are placing your feet or the direction you are travelling.
Of course everyone has an emergency torch in your rucksack… you do, don’t you?! Carry a good quality torch and or a head torch with spare batteries should you get delayed and night falls. Some people prefer to carry an additional torch to avoid having to change batteries in the cold or darkness. Adequate lighting is critical when the nights draw in. Trying to map read or making your way over rough ground from a little light on a mobile phone is a nightmare that you really don’t want to experience. This will also use up what could be vital mobile phone battery life.
Remember most accidents happen towards the end of the day when you are feeling tired and your energy levels are low, quite like your mobile phone battery that you’ve been using all day to find your location on a GPS app or uploading pictures to social media! Before you venture out, register your mobile phone with the Emergency SMS service. It’s really easy to do and could save your life. Visit the website and follow the instructions: www.emergencysms.org.uk
Ensure you wear suitable clothing for the time of year and sturdy footwear with good tread. Carry a rucksack or backpack that contains food, drink, waterproofs, hat and gloves, extra layers to keep you warm and dry if the worst happens, and an emergency foil blanket or bivvy bag to protect you from the elements in case of emergency. Ask yourself, if you or someone with you has to stop for an extended period of time, will the kit you have with you be enough to protect you from the elements?
For those who like to move fast in the hills, like fell runners and mountain bikers, there’s always a temptation to travel light and leave spare kit at home. Please consider though what to do if you twist an ankle, break a chain or simply can’t walk off the moors easily to a road to ring for help. Having to sit on top of a windblown moor for a few hours in a t-shirt and shorts will be an adventure you’ll only want to experience once.
Winter is not a time to avoid the hills. If anything it’s a time to revel in them. Fewer people means quieter days out. Those perfect crisp morning runs, or late evening rides. Catching sunset and sunrise on the same day, it can be one of the best times of the year if you’re prepared and willing to get out there to enjoy it.
Remember in the event of an emergency, dial 999 or 112 and ask for Police, then Mountain Rescue.
On 27th January 2017, Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team was alerted by Yorkshire Ambulance Service to an incident [Incident 990] involving a 21yo mountain biker who had fallen off his bike whilst riding near Otley Chevin sustaining chest and shoulder injuries.
17 team members were available to respond immediately and made their way in team vehicles or directly to the casualty’s location. Once on-scene, team members quickly packaged the injured rider in a vacuum mattress and transferred him to the ambulance nearby for onward journey to hospital.
After the team hands over the casualty to the ambulance service our involvement usually ends, apart from an update from the hospital on the patients wellbeing, or a thank you letter or mention on social media.
However on this occasion, members of the casualties family recently contacted the team to say they were extremely thankful for the teams help and mentioned they wanted to show their appreciation by doing a skydive to help raise funds for us.
Ok, so can we take this opportunity to say… once we’ve rescued someone, we don’t expect all our casualties or family members to throw themselves out of an aeroplane for the benefit of the team! That said, CVSRT are extremely grateful that folk feel compelled to go to extraordinary lengths to raise awareness and funds for us.
The charity skydive happened last week, (Friday 16th June) at Skydive GB, near Bridlington, and we can thankfully confirm that Debbie Forrest, Richard Fenty and Simon Manning all made it safely back to blighty in one piece. They have also confirmed that the casualty is making good progress and should make a full recovery.
The adventurous trio are still accepting donations, so if you would like to sponsor them please do so via: https://www.paypal.me/charityskydive
We will announce the final amount raised once all sponsorship has been collected.
At 12:33hrs on Sunday 5th March 2017, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a 12-year-old casualty who had fallen off his mountain bike, sustaining head and leg injuries.
20 team members were available to respond and made their way in team vehicles or directly to the Hardcastle Crags location.
Once on-scene, team members worked alongside the ambulance crew to stabilise the casualty and assisted in treating his injuries. They then packaged and extracted him to a waiting ambulance at the road head for onward journey to hospital.
In attendance: 20 CVSRT members
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Total Duration: 1hrs 17mins
- Date Sunday, 05 March 2017
- Location Hardcastle Crags
- Grid Reference SD 98930 29181
- Latitude 53.758985
- Longitude -2.0177090
- Man Hours 35.1
- Members In Attendance 20
At 09:47, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with the evacuation of a 52yo man who had fallen off his mountain bike and sustained a head injury. The rider’s friends raised the alarm as he was feeling quite confused and drifting in and out of consciousness.
22 team members were available to respond instantly and made their way to the location in team vehicles or directly. Once on-scene, team members assisted the YAS crew to make the casualty comfortable and then packaged him in our vacuum mattress before evacuating the casualty some distance by stretcher to the road, where he was handed over to the ambulance crew for transfer to hospital.
22 CVSRT members
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Total Duration: 2hrs 18mins
- Date Sunday, 19 February 2017
- Location Harden Moor, nr Cullingworth
- Grid Reference SE 06880 38508
- Latitude 53.842773
- Longitude -1.8969280
- Man Hours 63
- Members In Attendance 22
Whilst our five Probationary Members were taking their final assessment with the assistance of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team in Gisburn Forest Bike Trails, the teams came across an injured mountain biker with a shoulder injury requiring assistance.
5 CVSRT members
Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team
Total Duration: 2hrs 30mins
- Date Saturday, 21 January 2017
- Location Gisburn Forest Bike Trails
- Grid Reference SD 74980 57281
- Latitude 54.010933
- Longitude -2.2832757
- Man Hours 27.5
- Members In Attendance 5
At 14:30, CVSRT were called to assist Yorkshire Ambulance Service with the evacuation of a 21yo male who had fallen from his bike whilst riding near Otley Chevin. 17 team members were available to respond immediately and made their way directly to the casualty site or in team vehicles. Once on-scene, team members packaged the injured rider in a vacuum mattress and transferred him to the ambulance nearby.
It’s worth mentioning, the heavy traffic and congested routes can make progress challenging when attending an incident, however we would like to thank all the motorists who kindly made way for our emergency vehicles once they saw the blue lights. We commend your prompt, calm and safe actions, which helped our emergency vehicle drivers make good progress.
At 16:31 the team members stood down at scene and returned to base by 18:45, then onward to their place of work or homes.
17 CVSRT members
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Total Duration: 4hrs 15mins
- Date Friday, 27 January 2017
- Location Otley Chevin
- Grid Reference SE 20096 44323
- Latitude 53.894697
- Longitude -1.695879
- Man Hours 68.7
- Members In Attendance 17