The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Navigation­al skills remain important

- Stewart Alexander

The Perth-based Mountainee­ring Council of Scotland has blasted the “ignorance” of hillwalker­s after warning that electronic gadgets – such as GPS – can even lead unskilled walkers into danger.

It follows increasing concern from mountain rescue teams about the reliance by outdoor enthusiast­s on such aids.

Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with the body, said: “Navigation devices such as GPS and satnav can be amazing tools – but only if people learn how to use them properly.

“Our GPS will do the job it’s designed to. It will tell us exactly where we are and it will compute the most direct route from point A to point B.

“But it doesn’t know whether there’s a river, a steep cliff or even a whole mountain between A and B – that’s what you have to know from understand­ing the map.

“And if you are going to be following the arrow on the GPS to get home, you need to know how to programme that informatio­n correctly into the device.

“This all demands knowledge from you. It’s only with your input that a GPS can compute a safe route for you to follow.

The safety adviser continued: “It’s an attractive thought that purchasing an electronic gadget could solve all our problems in the mountains and keep us safe from harm.

“Recent trends with mountain rescue call-outs suggest in fact this is quite the opposite, and there have been cases where ignorance of how to use a GPS properly has actually resulted in a 999 call having to be made.”

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