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Griff Rhys Jones explores the great mountain ranges of Britain, from Scotland southwards to the Pennines and Wales

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Broadcast Sun, 14 Feb 2010, 17:45 on BBC HD but not available on BBC iPlayer.

3/5. Griff Rhys Jones explores Glencoe, the Cairngorm range and Ben Nevis.


Mountain Safety

If Griff’s grand tour of British mountains has inspired you to pull on your boots and head for the hills be sure to give some thought to your safety.

Here are six basic tips to help you stay safe whilst climbing mountains.


Plan your route well before you set off! Know where you’re going and estimate how long it will take.

Be sure to check the weather forecast on the day as weather conditions on mountains can change drastically within minutes. You also need to be aware of when it will get dark where you are. Plan your journey so you will be safely off the mountain in daylight.

It is a good idea to tell your route to other people not involved in the climb. This could be the local police, a shop in the area or someone back home.

Remember to notify them that you’ve finished your climb when you leave the mountain.


The weather on mountains can change very quickly so warm and waterproof clothes are essential.

A good, strong pair of hiking boots is very important – trainers are not suitable footwear for climbing.

Also, be sure to take some spare warm clothing. Walking in wet clothes seriously increases the risk of hypothermia.


At the very least a compass and a good map should be a part of your equipment. Mountain safety experts strongly recommend that a torch and a whistle should be included in your kit as well.

Difficult climbs such as ice climbing demand specialist equipment. Do NOT improvise! Seek advice from trained mountaineering groups.

The recognised distress call is six sharp blasts of the whistle every minute. Don't stop until you are heard!

Mobile phones could be taken but beware that phone coverage in the mountains is often unreliable.

Safety in Numbers

Climbing mountains alone is a risky business. Novice climbers would be wiser to be a part of a group.

Remember to make allowances for slower or less experienced members of your group.

For the more challenging routes it would be wise to join an organised group with an experienced leader.


Eating slow release energy food such as pasta or cereal before you go is a good idea.

You should also bring a supply of food and water with you for your journey.

Many mountain climbers take sweet food like chocolate or the famous Kendal Mint Cake with them as a source of energy.


Be smart! If weather conditions change for the worse, or you or one of your group are struggling, turn back!

If the worst does happen and you become lost, trapped or injured keep signalling for help.

Be sure to take a whistle with you to signal for help. The recognised distress call is six sharp blasts of a whistle every minute.

If you have a working mobile call 999 and ask for Police Mountain Rescue. Give them the best description of where you are and WAIT!

Stay warm and keep signalling on your whistle – six blasts every minute!

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