How to Stay Safe on Countryside Walks

Walking is a great way to get fresh air, gentle exercise and it can also be a social activity. If you have a dog then walking is a must on regular basis, and there is nothing better than watching your dog have a wonderful time running around the countryside exploring all the sights and sounds.

There can however be potential dangers when walking outdoors, depending where you are and what time of year you are out, so it is important to know what to do should you find yourself in an emergency situation.

The terrain is one thing that could cause problems, for if the weather is cold or wet, the ground underfoot could become slippery and treacherous. Make sure you take a first aid kit with you with all the essentials in so that you can try and prevent any injuries getting worse until you can reach help.

Other problems could come if you meet wildlife or animals along the way. Cows in particular can be very dangerous, especially if you are walking with dogs. They are very protective creatures, and if they have young with them, they are quite likely to charge at you in a herd. If this happens, let go of your dog, as they can run faster than you and they will be the cow’s main priority.

Getting stuck in the countryside can be a very scary and potentially dangerous situation, especially if the weather is cold and the evening has drawn in - making everything dark. Before you set off, make sure someone knows the route you have taken and that you have given them an estimate time to expect you back. Do your research on the area you are walking and make sure you take the essentials with you, such as water, snacks and emergency equipment. It is always worth reading a walking safety resource so you feel prepared for any hazardous situation.

Interestingly, in a recent survey carried out in Wales, a tiny 5% of 256 people asked knew how to call Mountain Rescue should they need help. Most people assumed you would simply call an ambulance, but if you are in the middle of the country side it is unlikely that an ambulance would be able to reach you. The most efficient way to get hold of Mountain Rescue is to call 999 or 112, ask for Police and then Mountain Rescue

There is also a great SMS service you can now sign up for, which allows you to text 999 with the details of your location and service you required. Remember though, if you are in the middle of nowhere, you might have limited single, so ensure you can make a clear and concise call. 

Chris Taylor

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