After almost three months of lockdown the next easing of COVID restrictions in England will take effect on Monday 29th March 2021 when we will be allowed to meet outside with one other household or via the ‘rule of six’ and the ‘stay at home’ rule will end. Whilst the Government has advised that people should still minimise travel and stay as local as possible we can still expect to see an increase in people travelling further for exercise than we have seen in recent months.
Our Mountain Rescue volunteers, like many people, are looking forward to getting into the countryside again. Many of our Team members have had limited opportunities to ‘get on the hill’ because of the restrictions and it will take time for everyone, including us, to build up ‘hill fitness’ levels again. We all need to think about our current skill levels and capabilities (including fitness), anticipate the weather and have the equipment and clothing to stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors.
So why not build up slowly – don’t assume that you can walk, run and cycle etc as far or as fast as you could before lockdown. Perhaps starting with a few shorter exercise periods and building up gradually would be best.
Although the Team has had a reasonably busy start to the year in terms of the number of call-outs, that’s mainly been due to snow and flooding incidents rather than ‘traditional’ hill rescues such as injuries resulting from falls and trips, which, thankfully, have been few and far between during lockdown. However, with the easing of restrictions we expect to be busier in the weeks and months ahead.
We all need to remember that COVID is still around and so the precautions that we have been taking as a Team will still be in place. That includes wearing PPE when dealing with a casualty. We still have to wear gloves, eye protection and an extra layer of waterproof clothing – even when it’s not raining! All that takes extra time to apply and can make things pretty uncomfortable for our volunteers especially as the weather warms up.
There’s a new Countryside Code in place with a call to ‘Respect, Protect and Enjoy’ the environment. We expect parking areas to be busier, especially at Easter, so please don’t be tempted to block gates, tracks and roads as it could mean we struggle to reach an emergency. Sticking to clear paths is important not only to protect the landscape but also to stay safe. Please spare a thought for farmers and local residents who may experience an increase in traffic and visitors.
It’s great for people to be able to enjoy the outdoors and our Mountain Rescue volunteers will continue to be on call 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, whenever needed. We just ask for your help in the coming months by eliminating avoidable problems so that we are available for emergencies. So let’s make the most of the opportunities – get out and enjoy your exercise but be prepared, be ‘Adventure Smart’.
Our guidance on ‘Staying Safe’ includes advice on clothing, footwear, navigation, essential kit, use of mobile phones and first aid so please check it out at:
Applications can be made to join the team in a support role (Operational Support) or as a hill going (Search and Rescue) member.
Applications for either role can be made at any time. Intakes for Operational Support members occur at various times of the year. There is one annual intake for Search and Rescue normally each September.Join Now