Shetland Coastguard is urging people to download the app and take it with them when they are out walking. This reminder comes after they recently assisted two walkers who had become disoriented and lost in the Ronas Hill area. This app is fantastic, it’s free, and it could, quite literally, save your life.
Senior coastal operations officer for Orkney and Shetland, Daniel O’Connor, says that the app is "a useful additional tool to other location tools” and is “simple, intuitive and everyone is able to use it.” With the help of the app, the coastguard recently was able to pinpoint walkers effectively, and the multiple languages feature ensured that they were able to break down any language barriers and safely locate the walkers.
He reminds walkers that they should:
- Be prepared; ensuring you have clothing for all weathers, supplies to last a few hours and a pocket first aid kit
- Remember, in Shetland the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly
- Download the app before setting off (the app uses GPS so should work wherever you are if you have it already downloaded)
While What3Words could literally be a lifesaver, it's worth bearing in mind that not all parts of Shetland currently have mobile coverage, so even if you have the app downloaded on your phone you might not be able to contact anyone for help using it. Shetland’s outdoor access officer, Kevin Sergison therefore recommends that you always have a back-up plan and don't rely completely on technology.
"It is always good to have a range of options for identifying your location, should you need emergency help," says Kevin. "Without doubt though, the key good practises if you are out and about on the hills is to carry a map and compass and know how to use them, and to let someone know where you are going and when you are likely to be back.”
If you find yourself in an emergency situation or spot someone else in trouble, you should call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
We hope you found this guidance useful and it will help you plan your next walk. This website features many fantastic walking routes, many of which are off-the-beaten-track, secluded and remote – see our Walking pages for more details.