BETTER mobile phone coverage in parts of rural North Yorkshire helped when a group of walkers got injured.

Photographer and creator of the popular walking blog Stuart Hodgson said mobile connectivity came to the rescue recently when he and a group of hikers were doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.

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When a couple of people in the group could not carry on due to injury, they used their mobiles to navigate to the closest recognised safe place and find bus times to get them back to the start point.

He said: “Our phones can now help us follow walking routes and find our way, and even help us identify some of the wildlife and plants along the way.

"It can also provide peace of mind in case of an emergency. When people come here to walk, particularly for the big challenges like the Yorkshire Three Peaks, being able to share spectacular images with friends and family, and via social media, is now a big part of the day.”

York Press: Blogger Stuart Hodgson on Yorkshire three peaks routeBlogger Stuart Hodgson on Yorkshire three peaks route (Image: Stuart Hodgson)

It comes as network provider EE revealed today it has upgraded or built more than 40 masts in the county in the last two years.

Five masts have been upgraded in recent months to bring enhanced 4G mobile connectivity to the villages of Chapel-le-Dale, Rievaulx, Blubberhouses, Danby Wiske and Terrington.

Most of the masts have been built or upgraded by EE as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a £1 billion initiative to extend 4G connectivity to rural communities, with the aim to cover 95 percent of the UK's landmass by the end of 2025.

Scenic tourist sites like Fewston Reservoir and Ingleborough Mountain – including large parts of the popular Yorkshire Three Peaks route – now have reliable 4G coverage as part of these upgrades. The upgrades also cover transport routes including the A59, A167, B1257, and parts of the East Coast Main Line railway.

The improved coverage has been welcomed by Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton.

Mr Hollinrake said: “Having championed the creation of the Shared Rural Network, I know how essential it is in helping to close the digital divide between urban and rural areas and boost regional economic growth.

“This improved mobile connectivity from EE means businesses and visitors in North Yorkshire are now better connected and residents have more options when it comes to working remotely and accessing essential services.”

York Press: Malton MP Kevin HollinrakeMalton MP Kevin Hollinrake

Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT Group, said: “North Yorkshire is England’s largest county and is famous for its rolling dales and close-knit rural communities. These new 4G upgrades will not only mean residents will be able to stay connected to the people and things they love most, but businesses and community groups can use our network to offer new services and experiences to the millions of tourists who visit every year.”