Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end. Edward Whymper, "Scrambles amongst the Alps"
Although the possibility of accident when on the hills can never be totally eradicated, it can be reduced. Equally, in the event of an incident, the chances of survival can be improved if everyone is suitably equipped. These safety guidelines set out a basic, mandatory framework within which Club members can operate. It is hoped that many of you are familiar with their content; we do not mean to patronise or discourage anyone.
It must be stressed that it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they follow these guidelines. Any person inadequately equipped endangers not only themselves, but also their companions, and so cannot expect the club to allow them to participate on walks.
Whatever the weather conditions, wherever you are, you should observe the following guidelines.
- Carry everything in a rucksack, the contents of which are in a tough, waterproof plastic bag, with room over the top to make a seal. About 25 to 35 litres is adequate for a daysack.
- Carry or wear several layers of clothing, including a hat and gloves. Synthetic clothes are best – jogging trousers, fleeces etc.
- Cotton garments are not advisable, especially next to the skin, as they are not warm when wet.
- Jeans especially should not be worn; they are uncomfortable and very cold when wet.
- It is essential to carry or wear a hooded, waterproof jacket, and waterproof trousers even in good conditions.
- Wear a supportive walking boot with a decent tread. Waterproof boots are recommended (either leather, or lined fabric). Boots not intended for hillwalking are unsuitable.
- Take plenty of carbohydrate (bread) and energy rich food (chocolate).
- Emergency rations should also be carried and only eaten in an emergency.
- Plenty of liquid should be carried - water is good and refreshing in summer. In wintry conditions, a flask of hot drink (soup/coffee/tea) is welcome.
- Carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
- Basic navigation skills are not difficult to pick up; ask a committee member or experienced club member if you wish to acquire some.
- Carry a simple first aid kit containing plasters, bandage, tape, safety pins, painkillers, nail scissors/penknife. Also paper and pencil for recording details of an injury. Personal medical details could also be useful e.g. allergies.
- Wear a watch. Especially in winter, be aware what time it gets dark and plan your route accordingly.
- Carry a torch (with spare batteries).
- Each group should have at least one whistle, group shelter and group first aid kit.
- Leave note of your intended route, including escape route. Do not feel obliged to follow this religiously if it entails unnecessary discomfort or danger. It is important to know when to turn back.
- If at any time, you fell unwell or unhappy, let the others in the group know and take appropriate action. To continue under such circumstances, endangers yourself and the party.
- Winter hillwalking involves more potential danger. The basic summer equipment is required, as well as more serious equipment and clothing e.g. a thermal base layer, gaiters, balaclava.
- An ice axe and crampons should be carried and used if conditions require it - an ice axe is no good strapped to a rucksack when there is snow on the ground. The walker should know how to use both.
- Most club trips do not require this, although given the period covered by the academic year, everyone should be aware of the dangers.
If you have any queries on the above, please contact a member of the committee for further advice. These guidelines are not intended to alarm anyone, but to safeguard club members in the event of the worst happening. By sticking to the above, the likelihood of this is very much reduced. An adequately equipped person will find their hillwalking far more enjoyable.