Thursday, 10 January 2013

See your way off the hill

First of all a happy new year to everyone.  I hope you had a good festive season and are ready for getting out onto the hills in 2013.

One of the tasks I perform at the MCofS is putting together our "Something for the weekend" safety messages for posting on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.  A recurrent message we put out through the winter months is to carry a torch, and spare batteries, and check that everyone in your party is doing the same.

I fell foul of that final point about three years ago this month.  I had my torch in my rucksack and was carrying spare batteries, so I was pretty confident I wasn't going to get benighted in deepest winter.  However, the mistake I made was to not check that my walking partner that day was also carrying a head torch and spare batteries.  My fault.  I should have remembered to check with him before we set off that day.

We did get down off the hill, but with only one torch between two it took us an extra hour and a half.  Lesson learned!

How many others remember to check with the rest of their party before setting out?  For that matter, how many remember to carry spare batteries with them?

Checking with your party is something you need to do every time you go out, whereas devising a system for carrying spare batteries is something you can do this evening.

I've worked out that you can fit 6 AAA batteries (my head torch uses 3, so enough for two head torches) into an old camera film tub.  Readers under the age of 25 may be wondering what a camera film tub is!  They were common in the days before digital cameras.  We're talking last century.

If you still have an old film tub you can slot the batteries in there this evening and then keep the tub in a place that you won't forget when you pack your rucksack.  Inside your first aid kit is one possibility, or just keep the tub with your torch at all times.

I hope this piece of information will save someone from the slow descent off the hill that I once had.  Being able to see your way safely off the hill might even save your life sometime.

Oh, and just one final thought on this.  It is worth practicing changing head torch batteries in the dark, and the wet, and the cold! 

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