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Why walkers should KISS!

Jan 13, 2015


The latest Mountain Rescue statistics indicate that the vast majority of incidents last year involved people who were either lost, or had sustained an injury because they were on the wrong route. In this blog I want to explain why, and offer a simple solution to the growing problem.

Let’s face it – why would anyone want to spend an entire afternoon on the verge of panic, becoming increasingly tired and irritable as their “pleasant stroll” turns into a nightmare trek? Yet that is precisely what happens to a growing number of people every weekend when they go walking without sufficient forethought. Most eventually get home safely, but an unlucky few become rescue statistics.

Walking is (or should be) the simplest of pastimes – as simple as putting one foot in front of the other –  yet we appear to have become bewitched by the supposed convenience of modern gadgetry. Paradoxically, this headlong rush to make life easy has actually resulted in it becoming harder, because it causes us to ignore the basics. Hence many mountain rescue teams are spending increasing amounts of time assisting people who have relied on GPS devices and mobile phone apps at the expense of more traditional methods of navigation. The problem is that gadgets cannot think for themselves!

I believe that the main reason people like the idea of electronic gadgets is that they believe traditional navigation is complicated.  Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is often the gadgets that make life more complicated because they cannot react to what is going on around them with any form of intuition.

I am convinced that, given the correct approach, traditional navigation techniques are far simpler and more reliable than modern technology.  What we need to do is get right back to basics.  It’s what I call the KISS principle – Keeping It Short and Simple!  In order to enjoy walking safely, all we need are a few simple skills and an appreciation of distance. In essence, we need to understand the environment through which we are travelling.

On my all my hill skills courses, I introduce people to the KISS principle right from the start. It makes everyone’s life easy.  It gives people confidence and allows them to enjoy their walking far more than would be the case if they were glancing at their GPS or smart phone all the time.

In any event, it is far more pleasurable to KISS.  It is also far more reliable than an app!


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