Police Slate High-Tech Hillwalkersby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Aug/2012
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Following the rescue of a group of 14 lost hillwalkers from Ben Macdui last night, Grampian Police have issued a reminder that parties need to have the necessary skills and equipment. They are particularly keen that walkers learn to navigate properly, rather than just relying on high tech gadgets.
Over the past four nights both Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and the joint Grampian Police/Braemar Mountain Rescue Team, supported by colleagues from the Search and Rescue Dog Association, Aberdeen Mountain Rescue and the Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter from Prestwick have collectively responded to four separate incidents in the Cairngorms.
All 18 people involved in the incidents appear to have been attempting to navigate their way around the hills using just smartphone-type technology and nothing else, police claim.
'Whilst all were traced safe and well, it is disappointing to both the police and the mountain rescue teams that there appeared to be a complete reliance on a navigation technology which we would consider unsuitable for the terrain these groups are traversing' Grampian Police said on Facebook today.
Chief Inspector Andrew Todd, co-ordinator of mountain rescue in Grampian, added:
'I have been involved in mountain rescue for nearly 20 years and, whilst technology can and does play an important part in raising the alarm or assisting navigation, it appears we may be about to witness a marked increase in the complete reliance of smartphone apps to navigate some of the UK's highest mountains.'
'What is particularly concerning is that the individuals who are relying on this apparently inappropriate technology often do not possess even rudimentary mountain navigation skills.'
'This is putting their lives at risk, and whilst Scotland's mountains are there for all to enjoy, there is a personal responsibility on those who venture into the mountains to do so only when properly equipped and skilled.'