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Ianw

Joined:

Mar 09

Posts: 23

Ianw says:

Drinking stream water in the hills

When I first started walking, in the days before health and safety, I was told that it was safe to drink from any fast moving stream above the last intake wall. Now I see that people seem to take a more cautious approach with filters/purification systems/iodine etc.

So my question is: What do you do if you run out of water when on the hills, do you drink straigh from streams or filter etc?.

[This Topic has been modified by the Author]

 
jonathan

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 508

jonathan says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Drink from a stream; always have and will continue to do so. And there's nowt up with me....wibble

its up norf you wanna be, not darn sarf
Russ Mills

Joined:

Oct 08

Posts: 441

Russ Mills says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

25 years ago I would drink direct from a running water source in the hills.

Today there are a lot more folk in the hills, and you find human excrement more often, so I use a 'travel tap' filter as a precaution, ( other water purifying systems are available).

 

 

Breathe the air... Touch the rock... Live the moment...
JohnMac

Joined:

Nov 06

Posts: 368

JohnMac says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I love the pure taste of mountain stream water and drink it in preference to tap or bottled water when out in the hills. I have never suffered any ill effects from it.

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I don't like to be a spoil-sport, but someone caught giardia after her kayak capsized in a river in north Wales recently - she drank less than a mouthful of the lovely fresh H2O and ended up with bad smelly runs & wind...

 

Scotland is probably safer and I know people who regularly drink direct from streams there when backpacking.

mickjaggersbestmate

Joined:

Mar 09

Posts: 852

Online

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

The answer is simple:

ALWAYS CARRY A SPARE BOTTLE OF WATER!

'The Only Way is UP!'....Yazoo!
drg andy

Joined:

Jan 08

Posts: 1351

drg andy says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

After a bout of runny tummy I now filter water.

Trail did a great article on this a few years ago. They tested water from a range of streams all high in the hills and the results were scary! Time for a re-run but maybe furthe afield - Scotland, Snowdonia etc as well as Lakes?

To walk, to climb, to run, to bike. To enjoy.
terrybnd

Joined:

May 07

Posts: 4881

terrybnd says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Treat ya water. End of. It aint worth the risk!

Go look at various sites online about the effects of not treating water. Simple.

Prevention is better than cure.

I concur with drg andy.....I remember that article....yuk!!! And russmills, too!

Plus, some bugs can harbour in you over years and years....once they reach a certain number inside you....well, you get ill.....to put it mildly.

Often when people get some kind of food poisoning, it is not as a direct consequence of "that curry" from the night before.

It is often the case of another crap meal from several nights previous OR simply poor hygiene.

I once saw a fell runner drink from a perfectly legit stream....I wandered along on my walk only to see a rotting sheep in said stream.....

I too drank from the water untreated until a couple of trips put paid to that....

All said and done, bugs affect everyone differently.....some people are more robust....just like with insects etc....its all swings and roundabouts, really.

So, better to be safe than sorry

Hiking and wild camping in the UK www.terrybnd.blogspot.com Follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/terrybnd
janso100

Joined:

Jan 09

Posts: 682

janso100 says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I always boil and have hot drinks. I start with 3 litres water so very rarely run out on 1 nighters. I just cannot drink treated water!! Makes me wretch. Never tried the purifiers so they may not leave the aftertaste of tablets.

Work just gets in the way
KIDSTYPIKE

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 1651

KIDSTYPIKE says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Must admit to drinking from fast-flowing becks in the past with no problems. Now I don't walk far enough or high enough to need an extra supply

Dave

www.wainwright-wanderings.co.uk/

 

StevieW

Joined:

Jun 08

Posts: 594

StevieW says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Once bitten twice shy, I'd rather pack spare water. But each to there own.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

terrybnd

Joined:

May 07

Posts: 4881

terrybnd says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Well, I check my source when wild camping and boil that for for food.

As for drinking water on the go...I se the Steripen though lately been using the Travel Tap.

So, the only taste I ever experience is peaty tarn water!

 

Hiking and wild camping in the UK www.terrybnd.blogspot.com Follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/terrybnd
Chris Ellyatt

Joined:

Dec 08

Posts: 114

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I tend to use Iodine tablets for longer trips away. I think this is pretty essential, because if you are unfortunate enough to get something, it could put an end to the whole thing! Day trips aren't so bad I suppose.


Chris

Please donate for my expedition at www.justgiving.com/highlands2009
JohnnyW

Joined:

Dec 07

Posts: 1384

JohnnyW says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I reckon poor camp hygiene is probably more often the contributor to the runs than anything out of the water. My water to the house comes straight off the hill and directly into the house, and my family all drank it for 5 years with no ill effect. We were regularly tested by the govt, as all private supplies are, and each year they told us we had E Coli, and each year I rang them and asked how much is too much, and each year was told officially none, but unofficially 'I know you're going to tell us you are all fine'. I mean, they took the sheep off the hills around Loch Katrine coz of a few bugs in Glasgow - Can you imagine the state of the pipes in the city?!

After a nasty blockage which resulted in frogs in the taps, I put a filter on about 5 years ago to keep the blighters out, but I feel the benefits of acquired immunity had already been gained. I drink from our hills weekly, and have never had any problems. You have to use common sense where you take it from of course. Personally, I think the fact so may folks live such bacteria-free lives now, they make their own problems. Working on the hill, you cannot avoid dirt, but you just have to be sensible with your basic toilet hygiene, and you'll be fine. 

That said, I wouldn't drink anything down South unless I could see the spring, or it was very high up. 

4429, that's my number.
Bedouin

Joined:

May 08

Posts: 633

Bedouin says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I tend to filter as I have a filter.... in the UK I wouldn't have too many issues with drinking it as is as long as it was far enough from obvious human activity.

 

Bedouin 

JohnnyW

Joined:

Dec 07

Posts: 1384

JohnnyW says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Yup, and I suppose I should add that I always boil or filter in the Alps/Pyrenees/Sierra Nevada et al

4429, that's my number.
cozy

Joined:

Mar 07

Posts: 2939

cozy says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

I filter or boil water in the hills, although i have walked with friends that drink from streams and they have had no ill effects, but i like the better safe than sorry way of drinking.

kreid

Joined:

Aug 07

Posts: 322

kreid says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Once on a walk along the Aonach eagach I ran out of water and started to cramp up and shake so as soon as I heard some trickling water I refilled my bottle and drank the water,as I felt this was a better option than dehydration or having to be rescued, after around half an hour I felt fine and continued my decent without  any further problems,I now carry a camel-back with 3 ltr and 1 ltr spare in my pack however even this ran out on a trip up Braeriach last winter with some forum members,so once again I filled my camel-back from a burn with no ill effects

205 to go and counting
Ianw

Joined:

Mar 09

Posts: 23

Ianw says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Thanks guys. I guess that comes out on the side of caution then, carry more water and only use streams as a very last resort and preferably with treatment.

topper

Joined:

Nov 08

Posts: 519

topper says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

Better safe than sorry.

 

I swallowed some unteated water once. Whatever bug grew inside me wasn't a pretty sight !!!

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Spanish proverb - "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never".
BigDug

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 2018

BigDug says:

Re: Drinking stream water in the hills

JohnnyW said:

I reckon poor camp hygiene is probably more often the contributor to the runs than anything out of the water. My water to the house comes straight off the hill and directly into the house, and my family all drank it for 5 years with no ill effect. We were regularly tested by the govt, as all private supplies are, and each year they told us we had E Coli, and each year I rang them and asked how much is too much, and each year was told officially none, but unofficially 'I know you're going to tell us you are all fine'. I mean, they took the sheep off the hills around Loch Katrine coz of a few bugs in Glasgow - Can you imagine the state of the pipes in the city?!

After a nasty blockage which resulted in frogs in the taps, I put a filter on about 5 years ago to keep the blighters out, but I feel the benefits of acquired immunity had already been gained. I drink from our hills weekly, and have never had any problems. You have to use common sense where you take it from of course. Personally, I think the fact so may folks live such bacteria-free lives now, they make their own problems. Working on the hill, you cannot avoid dirt, but you just have to be sensible with your basic toilet hygiene, and you'll be fine. 

That said, I wouldn't drink anything down South unless I could see the spring, or it was very high up. 

------ End Quote ------

I have to go with Johnny on this one, in that poor hygiene is most often the case for bad tummy's whilst out  and about.

I'd have no qualms about drinking from streams in Scotland, but I wouldn't touch them down south with a barge pole, especially the more popular places like the Lakes and Snowdonia

If you die with any working parts, you weren't trying hard enough!!

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