Cairngorms mountain rescue say Google Maps lead inexperienced walkers 17 miles off

The Cairngorms from above Kingussie in winter Two walkers rescued by Cairngorm mountain rescue strayed more than 17 miles off course after they relied on Google Maps to reach the summit of the second highest mountain in Britain, it has emerged.The rescue comes amid fears that unrealistic social media posts are encouraging unprepared walkers to tackle some of Britain’s most challenging peaks.Rescuers from Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, who helped the two walkers in “exceptionally windy” conditions have revealed the mission was the third in a row where they have been called to rescue hikers using Google Maps to navigate the treacherous Cairngorm Plateau.None of the walkers carried a map or a compass, they said. Cairngorm and Braemar mountain rescue teams were scrambled on Tuesday evening, after two people were reported missing near Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms.Willie Anderson, the leader of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, told the Telegraph his team had to cope with 100mph winds and poor information from the missing walkers.He said the pair, who had driven up from Glasgow, had parked their car and set off for Ben Macdui, were among the “least prepared” walkers he had ever rescue.“They were using Google maps on their mobile phone for guidance, but got 17 miles off the track and got totally lost”, he said. Mountain rescue teams say they are increasingly being called to rescue walkers in light gym gear and relying on mobile apps for navigation. In one case, Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team was called out to fatal incident where a group of rock climbers had met online. They didn’t know each other abilities and were unable to provide rescuers with the surname of the fatally injured climber. The Cairngorms from above Kingussie in winterCredit:Catriona Webster/PA Mr Anderson said they “must have done a 180-degree turn again” as they tried to make their way back, before being found by members of the Braemar team at about 11pm on Tuesday, six hours after they had been reported missing.Mr Anderson said: “It is becoming more and more common to called out to rescue walkers relying on their phones without a map, compass, heard torch, proper clothing or even the most basic equipment.“This is the worst case we’ve seen in quite some while. We are due our first snow shortly and if temperatures had dropped further this pair would have been in trouble.”He added that the walkers would have seen the Cairngorm Plateau “as a huge expanse of blankness” on their smartphone. “Google Maps has none of the information required to navigate what in winter is an arctic environment,” he said. Bob Smith, a veteran hillwalker and editor Grough, an online walking magazine, said that reason for the rise in poorly prepared climbers was a rise in social media accounts and glossy magazine promoting Britain’s mountains, without explaining the risks.He said: “Of course people should get out and enjoy the great outdoors, but social media and some magazines are encouraging people to tackle some serious scrambles and they need to understand there are intrinsic dangers in heading to the mountains. Britain’s mountains are not high in altitude but we do experience very unpredictable weather, and people need to have have right kit as well as the skills to use it.”A spokesperson for Ordnance Survey, said: “We always urge people who use digital mapping to also take a paper map of the area they’re exploring in case of emergency. All of Ordnance Survey’s paper maps come with a mobile download” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more