News Item

Phones blamed for more lost walkers

Rescue workers say that relying on navigation apps is leading to more people getting lost in the mountains.

The UK's busiest mountain rescue team, Lochaber Mountain Rescue (LMRT) in Scotland, have dealt with 103 alerts so far this year, which is higher than usual - it is normally 70-100 times in a full year.

Their team leader, John Stevenson, explains that, as well as the usual issues of bad weather and 'slips and trips', smartphones were causing navigation problems; relying on navigation apps is leading to more people getting lost. He added 'Navigation has been a big issue this year. People should know how to use a map and compass and not be relying on mobile phones.'

Safety adviser, Heather Morning, added 'Aside from the limitations of battery life, reception and limits on using touch screens with gloves on, the issue lies with people, and their ability - or lack of - in basic navigation skills. A GPS, smartphone or navigation app is unable to read important subtleties, such as a sensible route choice. Unless you have already used your navigational abilities to programme in an exact route, it won't direct you away from cliffs or show you the best place to cross a river - or offer an alternative if a bridge is down or the river is in flood.'

LMRT, the UK's busiest MRT, is based in Fort William, close to the foot of Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the UK (1,344m/4,409ft).

Details from the Daily Mail and LMRT links below . .

  • 30 August 2015
  • RIN

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