In the United Kingdom the clocks go back one hour this year at 2am on Sunday 29th October.
William Willett was one of the original campaigners for the concept of ‘daylight saving’. His original proposal was for the clocks to be put forward by 80 minutes in total, in four steps of 20 minutes each Sunday at 2am during April and turned back in the same way in September …
Just to clear one thing up …. days do NOT get shorter from the last weekend in October. They’re still 24hrs long. We do however begin to lose daylight hours starting with the abrupt amputation of one hour early on the Sunday morning.
And so begins the hibernation of humans.
I’ve watched and remarked on it for at least 30 years.
More Dark Hours = Stay Home More.
I often wonder what the cumulative negative impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people is if their activity levels drop off a cliff in late October for 4 or 5 months.
At the same time as this ‘stay indoors’ mentality occurs, nature and weather combine to create one of the best periods of the year for inversions, sunsets, mammal watching and just being outdoors.
The ‘cliff edge’ loss of one hour of daylight ALWAYS catches folks out. Indeed MREW have moved ‘Mountain Rescue Awareness Day to the day that the clocks go back in an attempt to minimise accidents and call-outs.
The latest MREW blog post (in association with Ordnance Survey) is all about keeping safe outdoors in the dark. Please take 10 minutes to READ it. Use it as a checklist for your skills and equipment before venturing out
(* yes i know it says the ‘days get shorter …. they don’t !!)
I’d also strongly recommend recalibrating your ‘daylight’ activities for the dark hours … dip a toe in on a shorter bike ride or hike or run just to get reacquainted with activity by torchlight and what things look like in the dark. This is particularly important with night navigation. Take time to get your eye back in and hone your skills.
No surprises. Don’t get caught out by the hour. Heed the advice in the MREW article. Enjoy the quieter darker months but be prepared for the challenges they bring.
Think of the clocks going back as the starting gun for head games and great times that come with the arrival of winter and the white stuff in the mountains ….
* I’m available for night navigation and hill and mountain walking skills tuition – see main website.