Warning issued for 'ill-prepared' mountain climbers in Wales ahead of busy Easter weekend

  • Video report by ITV Wales Correspondent Richard Morgan

Warnings have been issued by Mountain Rescue teams in Wales for 'ill-prepared' climbers ahead of a busy Easter weekend.

Rescue volunteers are bracing themselves for a busy couple of days as visitors set out to explore the nation’s remote areas.

Many of them will be unprepared and relying on the wrong phone apps to navigate according to Mountain Rescue Wales and Ordnance survey.

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is one of Wales' most popular tourist destinations.

The two organisations have joined forces to raise awareness about the dangers of poor planning and reliance on the wrong apps.

They have found that walkers are too reliant on standard mapping apps they use to navigate in cities which are not accurate enough to help them in wilderness areas.

Mountain Rescue England & Wales were involved in 3,357 callouts last year.

Their data revealed that more than one in three callouts in England and Wales were due to basic mistakes and poor planning, with 17% caused by human error, 9% by bad decision making and 9% by inexperience.

The Four Waterfalls Walk is a popular route with visitors to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Credit: Media Wales

Huw Thomas of South Wales Mountain Rescue warned that people should keep an eye out on the weather before setting off for any trips this weekend.

He said: "The biggest problems we encounter are people who become a little bit caught out by the change in conditions, particularly across the Brecon Beacons but across all the hills in Wales really.

"The weather can change so rapidly, navigation-wise people tend to rely on line of sight and what's in front of them.

"A bit of preparation with some map work whether that's on the phone or a paper map will always be helpful for people when planning their day out." 

Huw Thomas of South Wales Mountain Rescue warned that people should keep an eye out on the weather before setting off for any trips.

With technology developing over recent years, many mountain climbers opt to use mobile apps as their preferred method of navigation.

However very few mapping apps have the accurate detail required to navigate safely in remote areas.

Britain’s national mapping service, Ordnance Survey, promote the importance of navigation skills and having the right equipment when enjoying days out in the hills, mountains and countryside.

Nick Giles from Ordnance Survey highlights the importance of still being able to use maps.

He said: "Learn how to use a paper map, they look like their full of hieroglyphics, it's very easy to actually understand that.

"It takes about ten minutes of a bit of swatting up and testing your map-reading skills and you'll get the real basics, which could get you out of trouble."

Mountain Rescue England and Wales has recommended OS Maps App as the navigational phone app of choice when heading out to National Parks such as the Lake District, Peak District, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.

According to OS data, last year’s Easter holiday saw an 81% increase in walks compared to the rest of January, February and March.

With a surge of people expected to get out and about this Easter bank holiday weekend, both organisations are calling for walkers and leisure app users to ensure they plan ahead and have the right navigational tools to hand.