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Go outside. Sit down. Wait.

We are all guilty of just nipping out – local loop – I’ll just take my hip pack – be fine. Be back before its dark, sorted! But what happens when something goes wrong? Do you have enough to keep warm and safe until help arrives?

Think Winter Lairig Ghru Alex Ash

There have been many articles written about what we should be carrying in our winter packs but do we all do this? What do we put in our winter pack? But also when do we actually take our 'winter pack'? Just on a 'big' ride?

What happens when you are on that quick lap, with just your hip pack, or your essentials Enduro wrapped to your frame and something happens.

We read a blog post from a mountain rescue team member highlighting everything that goes on to get folks off the hill when an incident occurs and help is needed. This really struck a chord with us. The most interesting part was when the writer suggested that folks should try this - go outside in the kit you would be wearing with your pack, into your garden or just out for a bit, and then…sit down and wait.

After a just few minutes, you get cold, a wee while longer, you'll get REALLY cold, and it’s getting dark.

The question was asked: “What do you wish you had with you?” An interesting perspective and a game changer for some.

Suddenly the windproof jacket, or long sleeve top and base layer you are wearing is not cutting the mustard, your gloves aren’t really that warm and you really wish you had a hat, your lid is not keeping you cosy. And its getting dark and you have no lights.....

Check our suggestions for what to carry in your Winter Pack.

You've a quick window for a ride before dark, dinner, work or picking kids up.

You’re at the high point of your ride and have an awkward off, not enough to knock yourself out but you’ve clearly broken your ankle It’s taken you over an hour to get there, but no worries you have a mobile AND there is signal and you have your small . You can call Mountain Rescue and give them your location.

Amazing. Now what?

If you’re lucky, the phone call was routed from the police to MR.

If you’re lucky, the information of your Grid reference has been communicated correctly.

If you’re lucky, they’ll Sarloc you- which geolocates your phone. Awesome. This has taken 30 mins so far.

The call goes out to the team- it may take 20 mins for the first members to arrive at base. Give it another 10/15 mins for information to be gathered, kit sorted and get into the trucks and away.

Depending on the closest access point, that might be 20/30 mins drive- so only now is the MR team maybe getting onto the hill.

In the best case scenario, from your original call, you’ve been lying there for more than an hour in the cold, rain/hail/wind etc. How warm are you? (We are not going to ask how comfortable are you, as you've got a broken ankle).

Considering it took you an hour to get where you are with a small pack, MR are heading out with rucksacks full of gear. If you’re lucky, there is a fast party who will try to get to you as fast as possible- it might take another hour, by which point you’ve been on the hill for 3 hours, 2 of which you have been stationary in the elements.

Got enough in your pack to deal with that?

Now imagine you've headed out and told your other half a vague plan… but you have no mobile signal. You now have to wait for your partner to realise that you aren’t back at the time you said. Call you a few times. Get no answer. Start worrying, and eventually call MR.

Imagine you haven’t told anyone your vague plans. Add on to the fact that you aren’t home by now, you have no mobile signal, no-one knows exactly where you are or where you were headed, so MR get the heads up after you’ve been on the hill for 6 hours.

Now think about what you have in your bag?.

Tell someone where you are riding. This especially applies if you are riding alone. Let someone know your route and when you intend to return. This can just be a quick text to your ‘late back’ person. Simply giving the trails you intend to ride and the rough time it should take you.

If you do not contact them within half hour of that time, they should start calling you.

If there is no reply after an agreed time – your ‘late back’ person should be contacting the emergency services. Make sure they know how to do this and who to call! Do not go straight to café/pub and forget to let your ‘late back’ person you are ok. This is an easy habit to get into and could save your life.

Thinkwinter stay warm web credit Ross Bell 1

Credit - Ross Bell

Riding in winter can be awesome and we are not trying to scaremonger or suggest that we all go outside and sit in our gardens in the cold. This may however be a great exercise to get your teenage riders to do though as they start venturing out on their own or with pals, but hopefully, this will help to make us all think further about looking after ourselves better as we continue to enjoy riding through the winter.

Ride safe folks and #thinkwinter.


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