Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams along with Northumbria Police, Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, Northumberland National Park Authority and Forestry England are asking hill goers and climbers to be adventure smart.
“Over recent weeks,” said Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton, “Northumbria Police has received a number of calls into their control room requesting the help of Mountain Rescue and the two volunteer Mountain Rescue Teams have been more than willing to respond. A number of these callouts could, however, have been avoided by members of the public planning ahead before they enjoy time in the hills, moors and forests of Northumberland.”
Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, stated “Staycation holidays are introducing a new and very welcome type of visitor to the National Park, who are keen to enjoy the stunning scenery and solitude of our hills, moors and forests. Whether you are new or even a regular visitor to the outdoors it is important you know how to stay safe.”
“We would like people to head out and enjoy Northumberland’s countryside but to do it safely and responsibly,” said Mark Silmon and Iain Nixon, leaders of the two Mountain Rescue Teams. “Before anyone sets out for an adventure, be it mountain biking around Kielder, climbing on Simonside or walking up The Cheviot, they should always ask themselves three questions:
- Do I know what the weather will be like?
- Do I have the right gear?
- Do I have the skills and knowledge for the day?
If the answer is yes to all these questions, then off you go.”
Kevin May, Forest Management Director for Forestry England added “Autumn is a wonderful time to experience the nation’s forests in Northumberland. Many of our woodlands have excellent waymarked trails which are an ideal starting point for exploring the Northumberland countryside on foot, by bike or on horseback. Remember that mobile phone signal can be limited in many rural areas, particularly in the forests. Make sure you let somebody know where you are planning to visit, and always let them know when you return.”
And if you are intending to camp out in the hills, Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, said “I would urge anyone visiting our beautiful Northumberland countryside to follow all local guidance and not to start any campfires. Vegetation can ignite easily and if not dealt with quickly can spread rapidly and cause wildfires which devastate the countryside and present a very significant risk to life.”
Partners are also urging those venturing out to exercise within their limits and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Know your level of skill, competence and experience and those of your group. Making sure you have the right equipment for your trip including a map and compass as a back-up to any mobile or GPS based device and to know how to use them. Always carry a torch and whistle and know how to attract attention with them; you never know when your activity will catch you out or you go to the help of a fallen or lost walker. This is particularly important as we head into September and October and the days draw in.
If members of the public do get into trouble in the hills, moors and forests of Northumberland and they are not by a road, whether they are lost or injured, please dial 999 ask for the Police and request Mountain Rescue. An exact location such as a grid reference from an app like OS Locate or a what3words location will help.
So stay safe, #BeAdventureSmart and make a good day better.