On Sunday at 02:00 the clocks will change giving us an extra hour in bed. This means that the sun will set before five and it will be dark by 5.30pm. It is worth remembering the importance of taking torches and spare batteries even if you are intending to be off the hill before nightfall. Any torches that have not been used since last winter should be checked and treated to fresh batteries. Being able to navigate and move in the dark could be the difference between being able to make your own way down and having a cold and wet night on the mountain. You cannot and should not rely on a mobile phone signal to get you out of trouble.
As winter approaches it is worth making sure you are appropriately equipped. Waterproof and warm clothing, hats and gloves, suitable footwear, torches, plenty of food and hot drinks are all vital. A survival bag or bivvi shelter can be a lifesaver if you are forced to stop moving for any length of time. Of course a map and compass and knowing how to use them are essential items and skills to get you and your party out of trouble.
The weather at this time of year can be particularly challenging, make sure that your objectives are suitable for both the weather and the ability of all of your group. In particular the effect of the wind strength and direction on your intended route is often underestimated. It is also worth remembering to make sure all members of the group have enough energy for the descent, our statistics show that the majority of our callouts are to parties on their way down.