Rodney Legg, chairman of Britain’s oldest national conservation body the Open Spaces Society stepped down. His place was taken by the society’s first female head, Jackie Warr.

Stuart Walker, 13 miles from John O Groats

Stuart Walker, 13 miles from John O' Groats

Stuart Walker finally began his British Isles Challenge, only to realise Andrew Fairbairn was simultaneously attempting an almost identical jaunt.

As torrential rain hit parts of the country in July, a walker sparked a major search when he reported his concerns for a young woman spotted in foul weather making her way across the West Yorkshire moors wearing a mini skit and fishnet stockings. Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team called off its search when the 17-year-old’s mother contacted police after seeing the news reports. Her daughter was safe and well, and had just been making her way home. She was, the mother said, wearing wellingtons.

Andrew Fairbairn takes to the water off Scilly

Andrew Fairbairn takes to the water off Scilly

Problems arose at a North Yorkshire crag the day after it was officially reopened following work by the BMC. A woman was hit by a rock dislodged by another climber on Castleberg Rock, Settle, and had to be stretchered from the site by the Cave Rescue Organisation.

Shirley McKaskie was awarded £¼m by a court for injuries she suffered when trampled by a herd of cattle at Greystoke, Cumbria. Farmers immediately started consulting their insurance policies. The case followed the death the previous month of vet Liz Crowsley who was cornered by a herd of cows on the Pennine Way at Gayle, near Hawes, North Yorkshire.

Whistles, torches and dog barks failed to rouse from slumber a woman in her 80s and her daughter who slept through a major search near Scafell as dozens of rescuers passed within yards of the sleeping pair who decided to bivvy down after being benighted. They then returned to their campsite and ignored the police note pinned to their tent informing them of the search. The operation finally came to an end when they woke for a second time at their base in Eskdale.

Kelly Holmes on Stanage Edge. Photo: Alex Messenger/BMC

Kelly Holmes on Stanage Edge. Photo: Alex Messenger/BMC

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes’s new career as a rockclimber progressed with a coaching session with instructor James McHaffie, while another well known face was spotted on Helvellyn as Prince William joined mountain rescue team members who were helping disadvantaged teenagers experience the thrill of topping out on England’s third highest mountain.

Prince William with members of Centrepoint during his ascent of Helvellyn

Prince William with members of Centrepoint during his ascent of Helvellyn

The prince was joining the MRTs for the event with young people from the Centrepoint charity, of which he is patron, along with Mountain Rescue England & Wales.

William Bellis died on Am Basteir on the Cuillin and Michael Griffith, a former president of the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales, collapsed and died while leading a walk near Beddgelert.

In July, North Wales Police apologised to the family of Mark Lear who collapsed and died during the International Snowdon Race, saying no criticism of Mr Lear or the organisers was intended after an odd statement was issued urging mountaingoers to take care. Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team chairman Elfyn Jones said: “Safety for the race was excellent.”

As summer wore on, David Gibson, chief officer of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland went on to the airwaves in August to defend the country’s historical antithesis to plastering the Highlands with waymarked paths. He was responding to journalist Iain MacWhirter’s claim that Scotland’s mountaineers were guilty of elitism and nihilism by resisting the signing of routes in the Highlands and other Scottish upland areas. Most of Europe, he said, happily accepts the need to guide walkers with waymarkers.

Broad Stand, the new drop-in centre. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Broad Stand, the new drop-in centre. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Normally, mountain rescuers answer the call and make their way to find and aid those in distress, but a Lake District team found their casualty coming to them as a walker literally dropped on them at well known blackspot Broad Stand while they were already treating a stricken walker who had fallen at exactly the same place.

A day later, a walker on Striding Edge managed to catch a falling walker as she fell towards him on the ridge.

In another part of the Lake District, Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team was able to renew its acquaintance with a group of 23 hapless walkers wandering above Ennerdale. The group, which has been described as ‘clueless’ is a regular customer of rescuers who have had to come to the aid of the students from a Tyneside religious school several times before.

That familiar yellow-stained bottle became a thing of the past after authorities banned the use of iodine for disinfecting water. The restriction was part of an EU-wide move on hazardous substances.

It's knickers to the Lake District if you're after new panties. Photo: Eric Wüstenhagen CC-BY-2.0

It's knickers to the Lake District if you're after new panties. Photo: Eric Wüstenhagen [CC-2.0]

It may be a walker’s heaven, but for underwear shoppers, the Lake District is pants, the national park authority told us. A survey had found a dearth of shop selling knickers but, unsurprisingly, outdoor gear retailers were well represented.

A UFO-following cult took to the hills in August to celebrate three of the movement’s ‘holy mountains’. The Aetherius Society believes the earth was visited by alien intelligent beings, who energised various hills. Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, Carnedd Llewelyn in Snowdonia and the Old Man of Coniston were on the list for society members.

Hill sleuths John Barnard, Myrddyn Phillips and Graham Jackson were back in action, this time on the BBC’s Countryfile, accompanying Julia Bradbury to determine the highest point in Wiltshire.

The moral high ground belonged to Snowdonia mountaineers who passed Paul Bellis Jones’s trustworthiness test when he left a camera on Tryfan’s summit. Passing walkers and climbers dutifully took snaps and returned the camera to the pile of rocks in which it had been left for the next walker to snap him or herself. The camera was then found by national park warden Brian Jones who returned it to Paul’s home for the pictures to be developed.

A second death on Aonach Eagach prompted Heather Morning to start a survey of Scotland’s mountain trouble spots. A 70-year-old walker fell while descending the Clachaig Gully. The following week a man in his 50s died on Aonach Beag in Lochaber.

In September, a father came in for criticism after he took his two-year-old child to the top of Snowdon in appalling weather. The man and boy were evacuated by a train that happened to have made its way to the summit to take essential supplies to staff in the summit cafe. A rescuer called the man’s venture ‘almost unbelievable’.

Kate Ashbrook: dragon slayer

Kate Ashbrook: dragon slayer

A green campaigner turned dragon slayer when she took on Deborah Meaden, one of the stars of the television show Dragon’s Den. Ms Meaden’s company wanted to build houses on a village green in Devon, but Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society thought otherwise. A planning inspector concurred, calling the dragon’s evidence ‘unreliable’.

Also unreliable, seemingly, was the original survey of a munro near Achnasheen. Amateur surveyors John Barnard and Graham Jackson found Sgurr nan Ceannaichean lacking the necessary height, and the 913m mountain has now been removed from the munro list.

The king of the munros was being blighted by a plague of discarded banana skins. Ben Nevis was, according to the John Muir Trust, figuratively sinking under a sea of rotting yellow peel thrown away by thoughtless and misguided walkers.

However, one peak was on the up, following the success of a campaign to rename Carnedd Uchaf to elevate it to a ring of royalty in north Wales. The 3,000-footer became Carnedd Gwenllian, in honour of Wales’s ‘lost princess’.

A Gore-tex-free zone was declared in part of Germany with the setting up of a naked hiking trail in the Harz mountains. Previously known for its Brocken Spectres, the Harz would henceforth be the home of some more remarkable spectacles.

Gok Wan: found the team ‘confident, strong and honest’

Gok Wan: found the team ‘confident, strong and honest’

And a team of mountain rescuers risked more exposure when they were the subject of Gok Wan’s How to Look Good Naked on Channel 4. The men and women of North East Wales Search and Rescue were described by Gok as ‘confident, strong and honest’.

Looking less rosy was outdoor retail company Blacks, which announced it was to close 89 of its shops across the country. It would later come to a financial deal with its landlords to enable it to continue trading.

There were further deaths on Stanage Edge in the Peak District, Holme Force, above Loweswater in the Lake District, 75-year-old James Turner on Beinn Eighe in Torridon and Patricia Cowie on the Idwal Slabs, in the Ogwen Valley

Mark Diggins took over as head of the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, which in December would launch its service for the winter with a rejigged, multi-coloured code for avalanche risk. For those who are colour-blind, Ordnance Survey revealed a new kind of mapping to help the eight per cent of the population which has problems distinguishing colours.

Firmly in the red was the Cairngorm funicular railway which, it was revealed, had gobbled up £23m of public money.

Kinder Scout: now a national nature reserve

Kinder Scout: now a national nature reserve

Another upland plateau got some protection as Kinder Scout, site of the famous 1932 confrontation between ramblers and gamekeepers, was declared a national nature reserve.

There was good news for stricken walkers and mountaineers who could now reach the emergency services by mobile phone in remote areas even if they couldn’t access their own network, with the introduction of emergency mobile roaming. Perhaps not such good news for overstretched mountain rescuers.

The Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team set up a checkpoint – not to prevent walkers accessing the fells, they said – but to make sure they had the right gear and give them advice.

A group that could have done with some advice was the team of martial-arts enthusiasts who left a man in a wheelchair half way up Snowdon when they found the going too tough to push him to the top. As they enjoyed their jaunt to the summit, the disabled man slowly turned hypothermic and had to be rescued.

By October, there was another youngest Wainwrights completer – this time five-year-old Sail Chapman. His two-year-old brother is already in training to challenge him.

Campaigners were outraged at the leak of the news that the Scottish Government was to give the green light to the controversial Beauly to Denny power line, which is opposed by just about all the outdoor groups in Scotland. Only the SNP Government, Scottish Labour and the Greens support the plan.

Prince Edward: foot in mouth

Prince Edward: foot in mouth?

More outrage followed Prince Edward’s declaration that the risk of death was what attracted some young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. His comments were called ‘crass’ and ‘insensitive’ towards the families of youngsters who have died on the scheme.

Just two weeks earlier, the talented Slovenian climber Tomaz Humar had died after falling on his solo route of a 7,227m (23,710ft) Himalayan peak.

Barnard Castle artist Andy Beck brought colour to the monochrome world of Alfred Wainwright with his recreations of the chronicler’s sketches in watercolour. Proceeds went to the Fix the Fells campaign.

Another artist turning his attention to the outdoor world was Slumdog Millionaire creator Danny Boyle, who announced his intention to bring to the silver screen the tale of climber Aron Ralston’s ordeal, trapped by his arm in the Utah desert and forced to cut off the limb.

The 16-year-old son of Ramblers Scotland director Dave Morris became the youngest to scale Ama Dablam in the Himalaya. Calum Macintyre climbed the 6,812m (22,349ft) peak to raise cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust. His sister Esme has the illness and his father had throat cancer.

Ally Macaskill with one of his SatNav dogs

Ally Macaskill with one of his SatNav dogs

Schiehallion ranger Ally Macaskill fitted his two dogs with GPS collars to help keep track of the animals as they look after the wildlife on the John Muir Trust estate.

In November, two previously mentioned landmark events happened on the same day, with the official go ahead for both the South Downs national park and the English coastal path to the rejoicing of most outdoor enthusiasts.

A friend and fellow cancer patient of the late Tom Buckley decided to repeat the feat and tackle the Coast to Coast Walk to raise money for charity. Daryl Brady, 26, of Wigan in Greater Manchester, set himself the target of walking the 309km (192-mile) route in winter, as his friend had done.

Also in November, Gordon Brown took the outdoor world by surprise by pledging to offer free Ordnance Survey maps online. Though a Government department at first denied it, it looks likely walkers, bikers and other enthusiasts will be able to access free mapping come next April.

The Lake District fells briefly became a no-go area as mountain rescuers were diverted to flood duties and heavy rain washed away paths and bridges

The Lake District fells briefly became a no-go area as mountain rescuers were diverted to flood duties and heavy rain washed away paths and bridges

Later that month, Cumbria was hit by its worst floods in history and the Lake District’s mountain rescue teams helped in the relief efforts, providing expert swiftwater rescue techniques and putting their specialist equipment to good use. Walkers were asked not to take to the fells as all the teams were tied up on flood rescue work.

Julia Bradbury brought a little light to the sodden inhabitants of the county when she joined Prince Charles in the Christmas lights switch-on at Keswick.

Harry Potter fans will be able to marvel not only at the wizard’s antics but at the marvellous backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales as film crews shot footage to incorporate into the next film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Nepal’s cabinet held one of its meetings at Everest base camp to draw attention to the effect climate change is having on its glaciers.

Craig Palmer relinquished his weather assessors role after three years trudging to the top of Helvellyn

Craig Palmer relinquished his weather assessors role after three years trudging to the top of Helvellyn

In December, the job of felltop assessor came back up for grabs with the resignation of Craig Palmer from his role checking weather conditions on Helvellyn.

Natural England announced the expected consultation on enlarging both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks. Most celebrated; the Country Land and Business Association and MP Tim Farron both huffed and puffed.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland halted an inquest when she decided criminal charges might be brought in relation to the death of Ten Tors participant Charlotte Shaw. She also called for an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the police’s conduct after the incident.

The possibility of wolves and boars roaming the Highlands came a step closer with the application of Paul Lister’s Alladale Estate’s for a zoo licence. Expect strong opposition.

Despite a high-profile mountain safety campaign, north Wales’s rescue teams were faced with numerous callouts as winter set in over Snowdonia.

The end of the 2009 saw a spate of deaths on Britain’s mountains, with a fatal fall from Snowdon and then the tragic incident where Alastair Aitken went to aid a fallen walker at the Meeting of Three Waters in Glencoe, only to fall to his death himself.

Finally and sadly, William Williamson, Rupert Rosedale and Chris Astill lost their lives this week in avalanches in Scotland as the Highlands endured some of the most persistent arctic conditions for many years.

Their deaths are a salutary reminder that every time we step out into the great outdoors, we take a risk.

May 2010 be a happy and safe year for all grough readers.