Mountain safety advice

Keswick Mountain Rescue team with stretcher, Keswick, Cumbria

Mountains and moorlands can be treacherous places if you don't take proper care. But with careful planning, clothing and equipment, and an understanding of possible dangers, they can be wonderful and challenging places to enjoy.

Wear suitable clothing and footwear

Wear suitable footwear with a treaded sole, and that provides support for ankles.

Clothing should be colourful, warm, windproof and waterproof. Always carry a hat and gloves as even in summer the summits can be bitterly cold and it's always colder the higher you climb.

Carry food and drink

Take ample food and drink for each member of your party. High energy food such as chocolate and dried fruit are ideal for a quick hit.

In cold, wet weather a warm drink is advisable and always carry water - even in cool weather it's easy to become dehydrated.

Take the right equipment

A map and compass are essential kit and should be easily accessible - not buried at the bottom of your rucksack.

Mobile phones and GPS are useful but don't rely on your mobile to get you out of trouble - in many mountainous areas there isn't any signal coverage.

Take a whistle and learn the signal for rescue: six good long blasts, stop for one minute, then repeat. Keep going until someone reaches you, not when you can hear someone - they may be using the blasts to direct them to you.

A torch (plus spare batteries and bulbs) is a must. Use it for signaling in the same pattern as the whistle blasts.

At least one reliable watch in your party is needed.

Climbers and mountain bikers should wear helmets and in winter, ice-axe, crampons and survival bag are essential.

Before you set out

Charge your phone battery. Many accidents happen towards the end of the day, when both you and your phone may be low on energy.

Check the weather forecast and local conditions. Mountains can be major undertakings, and in the winter months night falls early.

Eat well before you set out.

On your walk

Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to turn back if conditions turn against you.

Walk at the pace of the slowest person in your group and always keep each other within sight.

If you prefer to go out alone, be aware of the additional risk. Let people know your route before you start, stick to it as far as you can and let them know of any changes. Make sure you also provide start and finish points, and estimated time of return.

In an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the police and then Mountain Rescue.