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Self Reliance

Here in the UK, we are lucky to have a network of Mountain Rescue Teams (MRT) around the country. All teams are staffed by volunteers and funded by donations from the public. Team members train regularly to maintain their skills and learn new ones. They turn out at any time of the day or night, in any weather and to the hill-goer, are often the only emergency service that can reach them in an emergency. When called out, each of the team members puts their lives at risk to save a total stranger.

Calling out an MRT should be a last resort, not something that should be taken lightly, "Willy Nilly" or when temporarily disorientated. Hillwalkers should be well equipped; with sufficient kit to them keep warm and dry with enough food to maintain energy levels and with enough navigational ability not to get lost. 

The emphasis, when out on the mountain, is that of self-reliance. You may have heard stories aplenty about people becoming lost on a hill as they have no map and compass, and their only course of action is to phone mountain rescue. That is an irresponsible and dangerous position to find oneself in, and one that could have been foreseen and avoided. Self-reliance is about planning and taking the kit and skills to complete it successfully.

Emergencies can and do happen (I know from personal experience). Sometimes; a situation may have degraded to the extent that the only appropriate course of action is to call for help. Recognise that situation quickly and know the proper time to call for mountain rescue, before a severe condition goes badly wrong. A life could depend on it.

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