We are lucky in the East Midlands to have so many beautiful areas of countryside to enjoy – the Peak District and the Dales in Derbyshire, the East Coast in Lincolnshire, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, as well as expansive country parks dotted around our region being some of those places.
While these places look beautiful, picturesque and inviting, they can be dangerous environments if you are unprepared for your trip.
In 2020, the Peak District alone experienced 568 emergency call outs according to Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW).
Tim Slater, EMAS Paramedic and Divisional Director for the Derbyshire said: “I would advise people coming into the area to be aware of what some of the dangers are present and prepare themselves accordingly.
“In the Peak District there are rugged paths which may pose problems for inexperienced walkers or those that don’t have the correct clothing or equipment.
“This can lead to a quite elongated rescue effort to try and get to people and extract them from cliff edges and diverse terrain that can catch walkers out if they are unfamiliar with the area.”
“There is often the temptation when the weather is hot to enter open water, such as rivers, reservoirs or the sea.
“It is important that this is only done in designated safe and suitable areas and you are physically able to do this as there have been too many tragedies when this has not been the case.”
Make sure you and your family are prepared for anything by packing a bag with essentials.
What can you be doing ahead of your trip into the wilderness to ensure you have a safe time and avoid Emergency Services or Mountain Rescue to come to your rescue:
- Plan your adventure, know what to expect and what you can do – websites such as GetOutside can help you plan ahead with safe and established routes to follow. GetOutside was founded by Ordnance Survey, to help more people to get outside more often
- Keep an eye on the local weather conditions – weather in open countryside and hilly areas can change rapidly so pack suitable warm clothing and a waterproof jacket. Don’t be afraid to abort your trip and turn back if conditions change and you feel uncomfortable. If the conditions are too severe, for example amber or red alerts for thunderstorms then seriously consider cancelling your trip.
- Wear appropriate attire to avoid injury on uneven terrain – hiking boots with steeled toe caps are ideal, especially boots that also have hardened sides to support your ankles. Having a twisted ankle and broken toes could make it impossible for you to get down a steep hill without specialist help from a rescue team.
It is important that you not only know where you are going but that you also let other people know your planned whereabouts.
Use apps such as what3words, Ordnance Survey or UK Grid Reference Finder to help you know where you are, especially in an emergency.
Wearing inappropriate footwear can increase your risk of injury during a hiking expedition.
As we remain, for the most part, in the era of the staycation it’s important to research areas of the UK that you will be visiting in the same way you would do before embarking on a foreign holiday.
Tim Slater added: “Visitors need to also understand what is available in the local area they are going to.
“Checking to see what healthcare services are available, for example if your destination has a pharmacy or an urgent treatment centre, can be really helpful in the event of you or someone else needing medication or treatment for conditions such as sprains, minor head injuries or bites and stings.
“You should also ensure you have a basic first aid kit and any medications you need be them prescription or others such as Paracetamol.”
You can find out more about the services near you by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/services-near-you/