Smartphone reliance causing more mountain mishaps

OS on your iPhone - but you could still run out of battery
OS on your iPhone - but you could still run out of battery

Walkers relying on smartphone maps and sat navs have become quite the bee in the Lake District Mountain Rescue's bonnet.

It seems that instead of admiring the great outdoors and relying on a trusty Ordanance Survey map like ramblers of old, today's intrepid Lake District explorers have their heads buried in their iPhones, Androids and sat navs instead.

And those less-than-100-per-cent accurate onscreen maps are leading walkers into a right pickle, causing a 50 per cent rise in mountain rescue calls in the Lake District last year.

Town mice

Relying on digital maps is a technique that's fraught with danger; problems include maps that aren't detailed enough, losing battery power and getting lost in mists.

It's a situation that has certainly provoked the ire of Nick Owen, leader of the Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue team in the Lake District.

"They're great with technology but they can't walk up a hill without getting into trouble. They take no sensible kit, like spare clothing, and rely on technical gadgetry which they're not familiar with," he said.

"It's a generation that's never experienced risk or inconvenience – they get lost and then can't think beyond the fact that they are wet and cold."

Gosh, we're just a regular bunch of city slickers, right smartphone owners?

As a Cumbria tourism spokesperson Ellis Butcher put it, "The mobile phone is not a get-out-of-jail-free card."

Nor is it a get-out-of-the-lake-district-alive-free card, it would seem.


News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.