The Lake District is an eternally popular destination for those who love walking, hiking and rock climbing. The entire area sits within the county of Cumbria and covers close to 1000 square miles of trees, rocks and grassy slopes and is considered one of the jewels of the British Isles. However, its popularity as a destination for outdoor-lovers also means that it is an unfortunate hotspot for accidents and injuries.
Due to its remoteness and the varied nature of its terrain, many areas within the Lake District are inaccessible to road vehicles and some places are also without mobile signal. If an accident occurs, you may not be able to contact the emergency services and if you do it could still take a while for them to reach you.
From falling and hitting your head while climbing, to slipping into fast-flowing water, the Lakes are beautiful but can be extremely dangerous if you’re not prepared.
Accidents while walking or climbing can be avoided by taking the right precautions. So, rather than ruining a holiday, or worse – gravely injuring yourself, follow these simple tips for staying safe while exploring the Lake District.
Go With A Group
Ideally, one of the safest moves you can make when heading for an outdoor adventure is to do it as part of a group. Solo walking isn’t advised, even if you’re experienced, so ideally buddy up with one or more people to make sure you have support if something were to happen to you. If you’re set on going it alone, make sure you tell people your route and how long you intend to be out. If something happens to you, then at least someone will be able to raise the alarm and hopefully get some help to you.
Check the Weather
The weather can really make or break your Lake District experience and there are risks to consider with all kinds of weather. Check the forecast and make preparations accordingly. If the temperature is going to be hot, you run the risk of dehydrating. If rain is forecast, be aware of slippery rocks underfoot, and if the temperatures are low you run the risk of hypothermia and going into shock. If the weather is in any way extreme, it’s wise to avoid venturing on a long hike altogether. There are lots of smaller walks and treks around the lakes in the valley basins which offer spectacular views of the Lakes without the risks that come with venturing to higher points.
Whether the weather is hot or not, one of the biggest causes of walking accidents is dehydration. Mild dehydration can cause energy levels to drop and also a loss of focus; moderate to severe dehydration can lead to dizziness, confusion, even collapse and death. Being extremely dehydrated can also affect your judgement, which makes it much harder to navigate and find your way. With over 900 square miles of mountains, lakes and forests to get lost amongst, you need to make sure you’re switched on and aware of your surroundings, so take plenty of water with you to keep your body and mind fresh and alert.
It’s not advised that you drink from the lakes or rivers, as the water may be contaminated. If you’re organised, you could take water purification chemicals with you to be used in an emergency.
Learn How to Navigate
Perhaps the most important and useful skill to have when trekking, walking or climbing in the Lakes is navigation. Learn how to read a map and compass and plan your route before setting out. Even the most experienced walker who knows the area can make mistakes and find themselves lost or in unfamiliar locations, so being able to navigate your way out of a sticky situation is essential.
Take the Right Gear
The right equipment will make you more comfortable and much safer, whatever activity you’re doing. Wear weather-appropriate clothes and always don proper walking boots with plenty of grip to avoid slipping on rocks. Take a fully charged mobile phone with you in case you need to make an emergency call (a portable charger is also a good idea). Safety equipment that could be lifesaving and doesn’t use up a lot of space include: a lighter, matches, a whistle, a torch and a multi-tool or pen knife. Always take a compass and a map with you and if possible a First Aid kit.
We’re sure you will have a wonderful time visiting the Lake District – and you’ll be stress-free knowing you have all the right safety knowledge and equipment with you.