Out Here Ltd

 

LOST

If you are lost, especially in wooded areas, panic can set in, all this will do is worsen the situation, so as soon as you realise you are lost STOP where you are, look around your area in a 360 degree arc, think of any obvious details you noticed before, look for them but don't move from that spot.

Have a drink, re-hydrate the brain, this helps you think, if its cold have a hot drink, maybe something to eat, as the old adage goes “proper planning prevents poor performance”, so a prepared walker will have cooking and fire lighting equipment, so this should not be a problem.

Mark where you are with a high visibility marker, anything bright that stands out will do, a T-shirt or a piece of a survival bag for example, this point is the first point of being lost, so this will always be your best place to rectify this.

Now you are rested and hydrated, look around again, again staying in the same spot, you will be surprised what you notice on the second look, this second look maybe all you need, but of course maybe not!

If you are in a group, then this will modify your look; send them out in pairs, covering 360 degrees, but only 20 to 30 paces, no more than that, the last thing you want is for people to get lost from a lost group!

This is not a game!!After the look around, check your map, you should have one, remember the adage! Compare what you have noticed about your surroundings with the map, e.g. contours etc.

You might think that looking at your map and compass would be the first thing you do, but this would largely be a waste of time without checking your surroundings first.

All of the above is if you are lost during the day with plenty of daylight hours left in the day, if however it is dark or the light is fading, this alters your strategy slightly, do all of the above with the exception of the group situation, DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO WANDER OFF !!

Also your priorities change, they are no longer about finding your way back, and they are about getting through the night.

Shelter is now number one priority, now, regardless of the weather, strip down to as little as possible, trousers and a t-shirt will do, even in the rain or snow!

Put your clothing in your bag to keep them dry for later.

Building your shelter, no matter how simple it is, and in this situation simple is best, and collecting firewood, you will sweat, this will effect your hydration and also make what you are wearing wet, your sweat will cool down and depending on the weather maybe freeze, best case scenario will be fatigue, worst case hypothermia followed by DEATH !

Try also to keep your hands dry.

When your shelter is built, fire wood collected and a fire lit, take a five minute rest and collect your thoughts, put some water on for a cuppa, then dress as needed, maybe change your shirt.

As regards the fire, keep it small, don’t make it any bigger than needed, a “long fire “would be my recommendation, be sure to build it on a platform to give it its best chance.

You are only going to be here for a few hours, just enough time for a good rest, waiting for first light and re-dress the situation in the morning, things do nearly always look better in the new day!!

But all of this is secondary to the most important that should be done, it is at the same time the easiest thing and the most difficult thing to do, what is this thing I hear you ask?

Well its just four little words, “KEEP CALM, KEEP POSITIVE “!!

As already mentioned “ proper planning prevents poor performance “ , this includes not only experience but of course making sure you have adequate equipment including a good sturdy knife, first aid kit, pocket saw, relevant maps and appropriate clothing, am not going to list everything you need here, just reefer to our kit list for more comprehensive kit list.

If you are on a Out Here course with us, ( even we can get lost ! ) you will not be getting out of the vehicle unless you instructor is satisfied that you are properly equipped, we always use a check list to make sure everything is present and correct, this was learnt the hard way !!

It’s a good recommendation that you do the same when you go out in the country!

But equipment and training are not the only preventative planning you should do, one of the most important things you should do is tell someone where you are going, what rout you are using and at what time you expect to be back, this is often called “ FLIGHT PLAN “.

If you are walking in an area that is often used by walkers, the local pub is a very good suggestion; we use the “White Hart “in Talybont-on-Usk.

This is done because if you don’t return then a search party will/should be mounted.

This of course means that you have to go to the pub to tell them you’re back safe and sound, and it would be incredibly rude not to have a pint while you are there!!!!

Remember: - Stop, don’t move.

Think; think of what you have seen.

Observe, look around, and take stock.

Plan, put together what you have seen and what you can see, think of time, action.

Nine times out of ten it is best to stay put and wait for rescue to arrive, as opposed to trying to reach safety yourself.

Unless you are 110 % sure that what you are attempting is achievable, otherwise you will probably greatly worsen your situation.

You are not Bear Grylls taking risks for the camera, with a safety crew with you then spending the night in a hotel!!

This real life or death!!!