If you enjoy walking in any part of our beautiful countryside you could get caught out by the weather, get injured or make some navigational errors. Dartmoor can be VERY wet and VERY windy, conditions can change quickly.
A few easy precautions can save you a lot of trouble.
- Leave a note with your family or friends saying where you are going and when you expect to get back.
- Don’t forget to tell them when you do get back!
- On any walk think about a quick way off the Moor if the weather turns foul.
- How much daylight is left? Have you got a torch?
- Is a member of the group tired or lagging behind?
- If you are caught out on the Moor and can’t get to safety then try to find cover in the shelter of a Tor or other feature.
- If you come off the Moor in a different location than expected and are sitting in a warm pub, phone your family or the Police in case you become the subject of a search and rescue mission!
- Don’t rely on your mobile phone working everywhere.
- Check the local weather forecast BEFORE you venture outside. Click here to check the weather to give you a guide.
- Make sure that you are equipped for the Moor – basic kit should include the following:-
- Emergency food – glucose sweets, biscuits, nuts etc.
- Map 1:25,000 and compass – and know how to use them.
- Emergency whistle – six blasts every minute is the recognised distress signal.
- A working torch with spare bulb. Powerful enough to signal with to help us find you.
- Small first aid kit.
- Plastic Survival bag.
- Dry spare clothing in a plastic bag (and put your mobile phone in one too).
- Good ankle supporting boots are a must.
- Waterproofs are also a must for Dartmoor !
Be aware of the standard distress signal……blow/flash SIX times a minute on a whistle/torch, the answer is THREE blasts/flashes. We use horns that are quite distinct from a whistle and carry well in the wind to attract your attention.
Contacting the Emergency Services when Walking
As the leader of a group, you will have to decide on the best course of action in the event of an accident:
Whoever goes for help should take a written note with the following information:
- Precise location of accident including a 6 figure grid
- A description of the location
- A description of the accident and time it occurred.
- Name of casualty and next of kin.
- Description of injuries. Stick to the facts.
- Outline of plan of action including names of other party members.
- Information about terrain and best approach route.
As soon as possible, contact the police who co-ordinate all land based rescue services and have the authority to mobilise all the services. You may need to stay close to the ‘phone to be interviewed by the leader of the mountain rescue team.