As the snow piled down this morning it seemed a good time to stay in and write a bit about the joys of winter surveying, how to keep yourself warm and safe.
Many of our survey sites are remote and far from public roads, and vantage points can be a long walk out over the bog, or on high exposed hilltops, sometimes at 700m or more altitude. Trying to plan and access survey sites in a snowy winter has turned me into an obsessive weather forecast checker, but I'll also call the relevant estate contact for the low down on snow conditions and how driveable their tracks are before I leave home.
As we're often lone-working we carry Personal Locator Beacons, but it's also essential- and reassuring- to have a lone worker buddy that knows when and where I'll be. Although we're always carrying maps and GPS, I've found the What Three Words phone app incredibly useful both on and off site- whether a car breakdown on a remote road in the dark, reporting an incident to a client, keeper or the emergency services, or to let your buddy know your current location, it's an instant method that anybody with a smartphone can use.
Once you've finally skipped out over the snow and peat hags to your VP at the top of Ben Bog, you'll plonk yourself down and pull out all manner of things to keep yourself warm. Pull on that extra fleece and padded jacket straight away and get into your sleeping bag and bivvy bag, you chill down so quickly once you stop moving! I highly recommend taking a sturdy umbrella to block the wind, a chair or thick roll mat to keep you off the ground, and for a real bit of luxury, a hot water bottle stuffed into your sleeping bag. Bliss. With lots of snacks and a hot drink you'll be in winter survey heaven!