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Walking the West Highland Way can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. However, it can also be dangerous if the appropriate safety measures are not taken. One of the most important things to carry while hiking is a mobile phone. I know, I know, the reason we get out on the ‘way is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world, but here we will discuss why having a mobile phone is so important, and provide some tips on how to prepare your phone for a hike.

Easy Access to Emergency Services

The most important reason to carry a mobile phone while walking in the hills is for easy access to emergency services. In case of an injury, accident, or any other emergency situation, a phone can be used to call for help immediately. This can mean the difference between life and death in a dire situation.

Location Tracking

In case of an emergency, the location of the individual can be tracked using GPS technology. This makes it easier for rescue services to find the person in need of help. In addition, some phones also have built-in compass and map features, which can be useful in navigation.

Communication with Others

A mobile phone can also be used to communicate with other hikers in the group or friends and family. This can be especially important in case of a separation or if someone gets lost. The phone can be used to call for help or to let others know the situation.

Weather and Safety Information

Mobile phones also have access to weather and safety information, which can be important while hiking in the hills. Hikers can check the weather forecast and make necessary preparations or changes to their plans. In addition, they can access safety information such as trail conditions and warnings, which can help them stay safe while hiking.

Tips for Preparing Your Phone for a Hike

  • Go higher to get a signal as glens and hills can block the signal.
  • Register your phone number for the emergency text service (texts to 999)
  • Send an SMS as it will keep trying to send while searching for a signal. If you get a split second glimpse of signal, it may get through as SMS has a much smaller amount of data than a call, making it more likely to get through.
  • Even if you have no signal, you may still be able to make an emergency call as it allows your phone to access any company’s network to make the call.
  • Familiarize yourself with the What3Words & Location GPS features on your phone.
  • Carry a spare battery pack.
  • Avoid turning your phone off to save battery when it’s already low, as it takes a significant amount of power to start a modern phone.
  • GPS is also independent of cell reception as it’s a satellite service, so even if you can’t get a data signal on your phone, you can still take note of your GPS coordinates.
  • Familiarize yourself with your phone’s features before heading out, including pre-loading maps and music.
  • Input your phone’s emergency personal information (in the system settings) so that a stranger who cannot unlock your phone can access personal details (organ donor, allergies, blood type, etc.) and access your specified emergency contacts.
  • Sharing your location with a friend or family member is always advised. There are many apps that provide a safety beacon service so that if you lose signal, your last known position will be recorded and transmitted.

In conclusion, having a mobile phone while walking in the hills is a must for ensuring safety and quick access to help in case of an emergency. By following these simple precautions and tips, hikers can enjoy their outdoor experiences without worrying about safety.