A Cumbrian university lecturer who served as an apprentice to survival expert Ray Mears is sharing tips on how to stay safe and well during the severe cold weather.

Dr Lisa Fenton, who served an apprenticeship with Ray Mears from 1999-2002, says simple actions can make all the difference.

Her advice comes as large parts of the UK - including north Cumbria - struggle to cope amid heavy snowfall and storms.

In remote parts of north Cumbria, mountain rescue teams, emergency services and volunteers have been working to clear and dig out routes that are several feel deep in thick snow, ferrying supplies to residents some of whom are struggling to leave their homes.

Dr Fenton, who is teaching first-year outdoor studies students bushcraft skills, says: "First of all – don’t panic. There are steps you can take if you find yourself in a situation where a journey becomes longer than expected.

"We’re not used to long periods of extreme snow and cold in this country as they have in Scandinavia. People there are much more aware of what they need to do, how to cope, how to dress, what to avoid etc. In this country I think there is little detailed knowledge of the effects real cold can have on your body."

With preparation being key, she insists:

* make sure the car is full of fuel,

* take a torch,

* hot drinks,

* water (to stay hydrated),

* a supply of food,

* spare blankets and shoes.

Drivers and passengers who become stranded should stay in their vehicle too, try and stay dry and huddle together for warmth, Dr Fenton advises.

"It’s sensible, really simple measures that will keep you warm – keep an old jumper or sleeping bag in the boot," she said.

"The mindset has to change. The weather is a major factor."

She also advises people use wool, which could be good news for Cumbria's farmers.

"Wool breathes – the last thing you want to do in a cold environment is sweat,” Dr Fenton said.

"If you start sweating then the water next to your body will get cold and damp, and will freeze on the inside of your clothes, and then you’re really in trouble. Bring woolly jumpers, woolly socks, woolly hats, and mittens."

And finally, Dr Fenton says that people should listen to advice from emergency services; if they’re urging not to travel, don’t.