Author Topic: Buying first hillwalking gear  (Read 1332 times)

Birdman

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #30 on: 09:25:16, 17/11/20 »

I think you might find real concerns in Scotland about the effects of fires in the environment. This summer has seen a significant number of events where people have set fires that have lead to severe damage to the peaty under soil that covers much of Scotlandís potential wild camping Ďhotspotsí. Lighting fires isnít something that folk should be doing lightly anywhere in Scotland.


What you are referring to (I think) is roadside camping. People with cars, bringing disposable BBQs and lighting fires etc that burn the ground underneath. 


But the point I wanted to make was that the places where you are most likely to get into an emergency situation while 'real' wild camping in the remotest areas in the UK, you'll probably have a hard time finding fuel in most cases. These areas won't have trees (usually) and peat is doing to be to wet do you won't be able to light it with a cigarette lighter.


In a life or death situation, you should of course not worry about some burnt ground. But I don't think you will find many examples in the UK where this was applicable. On the other hand, their is substantial damage caused by roadside camping and perhaps also by people walking a few miles while bringing a disposable BBQ.





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Sevenup

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #31 on: 09:33:48, 17/11/20 »

What you are referring to (I think) is roadside camping. People with cars, bringing disposable BBQs and lighting fires etc that burn the ground underneath. 


But the point I wanted to make was that the places where you are most likely to get into an emergency situation while 'real' wild camping in the remotest areas in the UK, you'll probably have a hard time finding fuel in most cases. These areas won't have trees (usually) and peat is doing to be to wet do you won't be able to light it with a lighter


No Iím not. Iím talking about supposedly responsible campers in wild spots lighting fires on top of soil that continues to burn long after the original fire has been extinguished. Plenty of incidents recorded by fellow walkers. Not all peaty soil is wet. Indeed many of the natural forests north of the highland fault grow on peaty soil and have an overlay of grass that is easily damaged by folk setting fires. I apologise for the thread hijack. Perhaps this can be dealt with elsewhere

Birdman

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #32 on: 10:04:38, 17/11/20 »

No Iím not. Iím talking about supposedly responsible campers in wild spots lighting fires on top of soil that continues to burn long after the original fire has been extinguished. Plenty of incidents recorded by fellow walkers. Not all peaty soil is wet. Indeed many of the natural forests north of the highland fault grow on peaty soil and have an overlay of grass that is easily damaged by folk setting fires. I apologise for the thread hijack. Perhaps this can be dealt with elsewhere


I agree with you on the damage. People shouldn't light fires in the wild. I goes against 'leave no trace' principles. But that was not the point I was trying to make. The only UK situations where I can imagine a real emergency situation is things like getting stuck on a Scottish hilltop with complete white-out during a blizzard so you cannot go on. Good luck finding any fuel for a fire there. Anywhere else in the UK you simply wouldn't be exposed enough or far enough away from a road or something where I can imagine you have the need to sit it out with a fire to stay alive. But perhaps I's my lack of fantasy.
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Birdman

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #33 on: 10:22:31, 17/11/20 »
This is actually quite an interesting subject. All the UK deaths among walkers that I'm aware of are caused by accidents (falling etc) or exposure in hill areas due to weather changes or carrying insufficient clothes, or just getting a heart attack while hiking. How many people in the UK have survived because they made a fire, or would have survived IF they had made a fire while that was feasible at all? I think that kind of survival strategy doesn't apply to this country.
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jimbob

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #34 on: 11:24:11, 17/11/20 »
Birdman, you forgot rust. The majority of the UK is just so damp that the biggest risk to us slow hikers is rust. ;D ;D 
Any type of fire should horrify long distance walkers except on those few camp sites/areas where they have constructed fire pits.

The wannabe SAS boys do enough damage on their 500 yard  expeditions from car to campsite sawing down young trees, snapping off branches from immature trees and generally never tidying up their damage. They give the rest if us a terrible name.
Too little, too late, too bad......

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Buying first hillwalking gear
« Reply #35 on: 11:35:05, 17/11/20 »
I can't think of many recorded incidents outside of winter, admittedly.  That said, how many wild campers are there really, out of the walking population?  I'd argue anyone who wild camps off the beaten track is likely in the to 1% of hikers who are comfortable, fit and skilful enough to perhaps not fall victim to the other issues, or certainly nowhere near as often.


Of all the rescue callouts I'm aware of, it's very rare to have someone light a fire as a primary means of surviving the incident, especially in 3-season conditions on an island with this much precipitation.  Usually most people (with means of shelter) are either in a tent + sleeping bag, huddled up waiting for help; or they're immobilised from some kind of incident and likely haven't got the mobility to make a fire.  These people are usually hypothermic and perhaps not in the best state of mind/use of their fingers to start prepping wood for a fire.  The nearest I could see to a likely scenario would be the recent(ish) Yorkshire Dales hiker incident where he was missing for several days and the area he was missing in was huge.  I think this guy did have some extra food with him, but once that starts running low your body is going to start feeling cold and I could see putting up a tent and prepping a fire as quite a sensible skill to have in the tank.


That said, there have been times where in the depths of winter we were extremely cold at camp due to the weather being unexpectedly well below freezing, miles away from anywhere we could 'walk out to', and I've lit a fire to try (from dead wood) and reduced the amount of hours where we freeze in a tent.   Cutting a lot of wood and feeding it for hours certainly warms you up, particularly when it's so dark so early in the winter months.   But I wouldn't say this turned an incident of 'death to life', but it certainly reduced any chance of exposure becoming worse.