Friday 24 May 2019

Top survival tips

Shayne Phelan
Shayne Phelan
John Meagher

John Meagher

Shayne Phelan is one of the country's leading authorities on bushcraft and survival. He runs courses at Ridge Eagle Survival Co Wicklow.

"People think that because they live in Ireland, they don't really need to know those skills," he says, "but it's far easier to get into difficulty than you might imagine."

He says the Garden of Ireland may be paradise for walkers, but some come unprepared and "find themselves stuck up Lugnaquilla with the mist descending with just a T-shirt on".

Whether you find yourself on the side of a mountain after a hike that's gone wrong or slap bang in the middle of a natural disaster, Phelan (pictured) believes it is essential to STOP - "Stop, Think, Observe, Plan."

It's important, he says, to stay warm. "Clothing is so important. Wool retains 80pc of insulation, even when wet. Shelter is key, too."

After that, hydration is imperative. "People think of food first but water is far more important. You can survive for so much longer than you think without food. Think of the Rule of Three: three minutes without oxygen, three hours without shelter [in extreme scenarios], three days without water and three weeks without food."

He says one of the most invaluable things we will ever learn is to make fire from wood. "It's all about friction and technique," he says. "But knowing how to do it can be the difference between death and survival. You might never know when you'll be in a predicament where you'll need that skill."

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