Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure nothing good has ever happened when a bunch of Instagrammers discovered a new photogenic destination. During this year’s UK lockdowns, hikers have discovered an airplane crash site in the Peak District. Of course, everyone now wants a photo of it. The invasion of “Instagram hikers” has gotten dangerous for Instagrammers themselves, but it has also created new problems for the rescue teams in the area.
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Last Monday, the Glossop Mountain Rescue Team announced that there had been two accidents in a single day. One woman had an ankle fracture, and one man got lost due to the low clouds and rain.
The next day, the rescue team announced that there had also been two searches that didn’t give any results – because the hikers found the way on their own and safely got home. “We’re always glad to hear that people are safe, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep us informed,” said Glossop MRT Team Leader Patch Haley. “If people do make their own way down after they call emergency services for assistance, it’s vital they let us know via 101.”
“My fear is that with higher volumes of walkers visiting the area during lockdown, more of these false alarms will leave our rescue team overstretched, and at risk of struggling to reach those who are genuinely in need of urgent assistance.”
According to the rescue team’s Facebook post, the Peak District has become a very attractive destination for people from Greater Manchester, Yorkshire, and beyond during the recent lockdown. “Higher Shelf Stones in particular has found unlikely fame on Tik-Tok and Instagram, thanks to its eerie and photogenic landscape,” the post reads “where the natural beauty of the area contrasts with the wreckage of a crashed B29 Superfortress.”
The Glossop MRT notes that the area can be pretty inhospitable and challenging even for the most experienced hikers. While the photos from the plane crash site can bring you likes, reaching the destination can be pretty difficult, especially in winter. And you should be aware that “social media only tells [you] half the story,” Haley points out.
“Always check the weather before you set off. Conditions can change without warning at these elevations, and low clouds can reduce visibility drastically. It’s easy to get disorientated and wet, and that’s when hypothermia can set in. And remember to allow plenty of time to get back before sunset, as conditions underfoot will become claggy, and navigation nearly impossible. Make sure you bring food, water, a torch, and a map and compass. And be confident you can use them.”
I’m always amazed by how easily Instagram makes some places popular, even if they’re dangerous or hard to access. Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go for a hike and visit interesting places even if they’re difficult to reach. But you do need to be aware that what you see on social media is only a fragment of what it took for the photo to be made, so you should go prepared.
Speaking of this topic, have you noticed that any local site in your country has received more attention than before during the lockdown? For example, my social media feeds have been filled with photos from the Golubac Fortress and Krupajsko vrelo (Krupaj Spring).