Hill Running Safety

Fell running is an extreme sport and injuries and fatalities do happen. Pennine does not take responsibility for anyone who runs with the club on organised events and it's therefore essential that each individual takes responsibility for his/her own safety. As well as the handicaps and other special events, this also applies to any Thursday night run. These are not structured training sessions, so there is no designated organiser or run leader, which means that it's possible there might not be anyone there with more hill experience than you. Therefore you should take all the standard precautions that you would on any solo training run. The decision to take part in any fell running event (FRA race, Pennine handicap, relay event etc) is the responsibility of the individual runner, and nobody else.

Kit requirements

What kit you wear and carry depends on the weather, the route, the time of year, and your personal circumstances. At a minimum, and in line with FRA best practice guidelines, you should carry full body cover (waterproof or windproof according to conditions), hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle and emergency food. Extra items could include a spare top, survival bag, torch, spare batteries, water bottle, electrolyte tablets, emergency shelter and first aid kit. You should always carry a torch on all evening runs that might see you out after dark. This is what the club advises, but the responsibility for carrying appropriate kit rests with the individual runner, and not with the club.

Confirming you're safely off the hill

The Pennine procedure for ensuring that all adult participants in Pennine activities have safely returned is to let a friend or family member know when the runner is going to be taking part in a Pennine training run or other club event, and that the runner must contact them to let them know that the runner is safely off the hill.

It is important to have an agreed time by which the friend or family member should expect to hear from you. This should be later than you intend to finish the run as, if you're not in touch by the agreed time, your contact will need to take action. Initially, they should try to call you and, if there is no reply, they should call Sue Richmond (club captain) in the first instance. Please ensure that you give your friend or family member her number.
However, if they are unable to contact Sue then they should dial 999, ask for the police, and ask the police for Mountain Rescue.
If any participants in Pennine activities do not wish to adopt this procedure, they will be wholly responsible for any problems which arise.

Defibrillator Locations in Hayfield

Cardiac arrests when felling running are rare but they can happen. There are four defibrillators in Hayfield, which can be found at the following locations:


The FRA produce a useful guide on the risks and how to minimise them (FRA Hypothermia Leaflet). It's important to remember that wind chill significantly reduces the apparent temperature. You should always have enough kit to keep you warm if you have to walk off the hill in any weather conditions


You should wear fell running shoes which offer good grip and stability on rough uneven ground. The grips need to be made of a soft enough compound to grip on wet rock, while they need to be aggressive enough to grip on mud. The lower your feet are to the ground the more stable they are, so you will find it easier to run and have less twisted ankles and knees.


The club offers numerous opportunities to practice basic map and compass navigation in familiar areas. Specific training sessions have also been organised when there is sufficient interest from members.
Five golden rules to prevent you getting lost are:

There has been much discussion about the use of GPS in fell running. No one is saying it should not be used in an emergency situation or if something has gone wrong and you need to get yourself safely off the hill. However, technology can fail for many reasons so it should not be your only means of navigating on the fells.

Mobile Phones

You should always carry a mobile phone, ideally fully-charged when you start and switched on so that if you take a serious tumble the emergency services have a chance at identifying your approximate location. Storing the number of a race control contact or the start/finish location in your phone before setting off could help you alert club or event colleagues in the event you need help getting off the hill, or will be late back. You can also enroll in the emergency SMS service for occasions where signal strength or rough weather conditions make emergency voice calls difficult

Training in groups

You should ideally go out on the fells in a group of four or more, so that in the event someone gets injured there is one person to stay with the casualty and two to go off and seek help (which might just involve going around the corner for mobile signal) still with the protection of each other in case of adverse conditions or a further injury.

Safety near animals

When running across agricultural land with animals, especially cattle, in fields you should take care to pass them at a distance - walk don't run - and be especially careful if they have young with them. Further details on this point are covered by the Rambler's Association walking near livestock leaflet.

Pennine Fell Runners links

Risk Assessment information
Risk assessment policy
General risk assessment

Other Links

Hypothermia; FRA leaflet
Weather Mountain Weather Information Service
Emergency SMS service: Mountaineering Scotland page
Walking near livestock: Ramblers Association leaflet