Late July 2013. Both the UK and much of Europe were in the grip of a heat wave. Sunflower’s office received an urgent message one morning from a leading Mallorca luxury hotel in the Deia region. We were told that one of the hotel’s guests had on the previous day set out on one of the walks featured in our Landscapes of Mallorca walking guide. The territory to be covered included the rugged landscape seen in the photograph above. Apparently instead of having the complete book, he had torn out the relevant page describing the walk he intended to do and had taken it with him. But now, nearly 24 hours later, he had failed to return. The police intended to send out a search party to find him. We were asked if we could e-mail a pdf of the pages describing the walk. (This was because although the hotel had found the book, with the walk description torn out of the book it was not known precisely what route he would have taken.) Of course we immediately sent the necessary information and a map of the walk route.
Unfortunately, the hotel’s guest had ignored the advice in the book that one should never walk alone. He had also set off in conditions of extreme heat. (The hotel considered that the prevailing heat conditions were such that even an experienced walker could have run into difficulty in this mountainous region) So it proved. We later learned that the guest had sadly collapsed and died on the walk and the search party found his body.
Whether you’re walking in familiar territory or in a landscape that is new to you, and whether you walk in spring, summer, autumn or winter, avoid walking alone. Even in the most favourable conditions and in territory you know like the back of your hand, an accidental fall could leave you incapacitated and unable to reach help. (And a mobile phone so often proves to be without a signal just when it is most needed!) But especially in extremes of climate, whether it be bitterly cold in winter or abnormally hot in summer, think twice before setting off. Don’t ignore advice given by locals but above all, make sure you are accompanied by other walkers.
Enjoy your walking, but do follow the advice we offer to ensure the safety of both you and your fellow walkers. Comprehensive advice on safety while walking, appears in each guidebook published by Sunflower Books. Do take note of it.