Just knowing the UK’s hard working mountain rescues teams are there for you when it really matters is a great comfort for any walker, hiker and climber. No matter how involved the rescue there is no charge for their services unlike many other country’s in the world where the cost of getting out of danger can be a hefty sum especially if the use of helicopters are needed.
Insurance is available to cover the cost of rescue when it happens usually costing less per year than a good pair of walking boots.
When to Charge?
Every so often we see the stories in the news of hapless hikers who have gone climbing or walking without the proper equipment and I groan in despair at people who need rescue because their walk took longer than they thought and they end up stuck up a mountain in the dark without a torch, in all the wrong clothing and no basic supplies of food and water.
Do we impose a blanket set of fines where all those how don’t have the required insurance will have to pay or a system where if it is clear that the manpower and expense could have been avoided by a little preparation on behalf of the victim then payment is due. For this to work there must be a clear definition of when an outdoor enthusiast has by their own actions caused the situation they find themselves in.
The one possible down side of a rescue charge could be that the fear of a big bill could push stranded people into an even worse situation by trying to battle on instead of calling out for help at the point they realize that things are going badly wrong.
The one overriding problem to the many avoidable call outs every year is the need for more awareness among novice climbers to take some basic kit and to look at the route they intend to take from a timing point of view.
Could the introduction of insurance itself with advertising at all the jump off points around the United Kingdoms mountain give enthusiasts that little push to examine their whole walking trip a bit more objectively and cut down on some unnecessary emergency’s.
When I consider the amount of money spent be me on my outdoor equipment every year finding that little bit extra to ensure my safety now and in the future isn’t really a problem.
The extra funding an insurance card system will generate in is going to bring a regular and steady income for rescue teams giving them options for new training equipment and manpower which can only be a good thing as more and more of us take to the hills and mountains of the UK.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this subject.
Cairngorms photo courtesy Wikipedia