I don’t know how anyone can miss this simple truth: you must carry a headlamp when going outdoors, especially in the winter. This embarrassing news article by the BBC describes a man who went, well prepared, for a day hike in the Cairngorms and needed to be rescued, yes rescued, 400 meters (about 1200 feet) from the car park. The facts are simple – a man went out, set for a winter day hike. He hadn’t planned well for the short days of winter light and got stuck in the dark. He did the wise thing and avoided trying to find his way to the car park, instead stopping in his place. That place happen to be 400 meters away from the car park. The man decided to call 999 and contact Mountain Rescue to “save” him from an unplanned night in wintery Caringorm, Scotland (that can become covered by a vicious snow storm in minutes).
That little episode could have been avoided and saved a lot of money (a helicopter was sent to the rescue) by carrying a headlamp to follow the trail back. If you don’t like headlamps, carry a hand torch. What ever you choose to carry – make sure you have means of light, the electronic kind (matches are not enough). I will discuss headlamps more later on, but wanted to try to save a few more millions for mountain rescuers around the world and remind everyone to have a way to light your way.
Enjoy the hike.