Mountain rescuers issue warning to walkers

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

Mountain rescuers issue warning to walkers

A wooden boardwalk covering 1.6km of Cuilcagh Mountain has been hailed as the local equivalent to the “Great Wall.”

A walker was rescued from Cuilcagh mountain by the North West Mountain Rescue Team (NWMRT) recently, after he slipped on a rock and sustained a fractured ankle.

The team of 20 volunteers who helped the lone walker who was discovered by other hikers at the end of January. 

Whilst the man in his fifties escaped relatively unscathed and was off the mountain and taken to hospital within the hour, the NWMRT have become alarmed at the number of mountain walkers who are wearing inappropriate clothing and are not carrying proper safety equipment.

Cuilcagh which now has a wooden boardwalk is attracting huge numbers, the NWMRT counted 600 people going up Cuilcagh one Sunday.

Coming from their recent callout to Cuilcagh Mountain Park, NWMRT feel the need to emphasise the importance of safety whilst heading to the hills, especially at this time of year as weather conditions can deteriorate very quickly. 

According to the NWMRT, the following equipment is essential: a map and compass (and someone who knows how to use them); a waterproof note pad and pencil; a head or hand held torch with spare batteries; an appropriate sized rucksack; trekking poles {optional); and food and drink.

“A good breakfast will set you up for a day’s walk, and whilst out, consuming little and often is the best way to keep hydrated and maintain your energy,” the spokeswoman said. They also advise bringing some emergency food like high energy bars. Water will do, but on cold days bring a flask with something warm.

The following items of clothing should be worn: walking boots (no runners) and good warm socks; wicking, insulating layers and fleece (not cottons); walking trousers (no jeans); waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers; hat, scarf/buff and some gloves; and gaiters.
Safety measures include bringing emergency food, spare gloves, spare socks, a whistle, a mobile phone, a first aid kit, a bivi bag, a group shelter and a torch.

If you find yourself in difficulty on the mountain, the NWMRT advise that you should make a note of all relevant details: location (grid reference if possible); name, gender and age of casualty; nature of injuries or emergency; number of people in the party; and your mobile phone number. Then dial 999 or 112 and ask for mountain rescue.