For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Howgills, they’re those huge, dramatic, rounded hills on your right as you head north up the M6 towards Carlisle. And last Spring, in the midst of freezing conditions and a howling gale, one of our walking group had forgotten to pack warm head wear up there.

In fact she’d left her hat in the car; though was content to continue with our walk. Four or five hours pleasant walking followed, us being blown around the hills and seeking refuge in a couple of pubs along the way.

That night though, she was taken quite seriously ill – to the extent she thought she was having a stroke.

Woolly bobble hatAn ambulance soon whisked her off to hospital, and, after a raft of tests and scans, they concluded that the combination of freezing temperatures and biting wind contributed to what was a quite serious and disturbing situation.

Had she chosen to go back for appropriate PPE, in this case a woolly hat, it’s more than likely this whole unfortunate event would never have happened. Suffice to say, the hat hasn’t been forgotten  on any of our subsequent weekly wanderings.

The moral of this story is of course to always have correct PPE – not left in your locker at the far end of the site. If you’re tempted to just leave it there and ignore PPE “just this once”, remember that your choice might result in unimaginable consequences. Unsettling ones which not only affect you, but those you work with or care about.

So as you ponder a festive escape from the roast turkey and annual repeats of the Great Escape, remember to wrap up warm, and if you venture further field, make sure you prepare with appropriate clothing and equipment for the conditions.