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Wednesday, 03 June 2015

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Pair in eight-hour South Lakes mountain rescue only had page from guide

AN ill-prepared group of walkers prompted an eight-hour rescue in heavy rain and darkness after setting off into the mountains armed with just a page from a guidebook.

OPERATION: Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, which was called out to search for two walkers who had failed to return from a walk on Scafell Pike, at Mickledore, Scafell Pike. Inset, Mike Gullen PICTURES FROM WASDALE MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM’S WEBSITE

More than 50 rescuers from five mountain rescue teams from across the Lake District were involved in the search effort on Sunday after two people were reported overdue shortly after 5pm.

Mike Gullen, team leader of Wasdale Mountain Rescue, said a group of four people had set off from Seathwaite, in Borrowdale, south west of Keswick, to climb Scafell Pike earlier that day.

Although two of the men continued on the walk, a man and a child turned around and walked back down before raising the alarm when the others did not return.

Although the pair had lots of warm clothing, they did not have a map, compass or a torch, Mr Gullen said. Their only navigational aid was a page from one of Alfred
Wainwright’s pictorial guides to the Lakeland Fells.

“The weather was absolutely appalling and basically they were not equipped. All they had with them was a page from a Wainwright guide,” said Mr Gullen.

“If there is anything we want to get across, it is that people have got to remember that they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but they are actually putting the lives of people going to look for them at risk.”

As well as Wasdale, Keswick, Langdale and Ambleside and Duddon and Furness mountain rescue teams, the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs also scoured the fells around Scafell Pike for the walkers.

After ascending Scafell Pike the lost pair had tried to come down the mountain but headed in the opposite direction to the way they had come up.

They were eventually found sheltering in a mountain rescue stretcher box on Mickledore at about 11.30pm and were helped down to Wasdale Head across swollen rivers.

Although they were wet and cold, the pair were not injured, Mr Gullen said.

Nick Owen, team leader of Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue, said the event was a reminder to others to prepare properly before heading into the hills.

Have your say

SAR(H) about 3000 pounds/flying hour would be a good marker. Mountain rescue dog you missed the 6th P! Finally why dont we make these muppets have insurance, you get lost etc and are ill equipped with basic kit in a bergen then you get fined! Money going to the rescue teams for funding. A simple disclaimer is published in all guide books and at the entrance to the lakes.

Posted by JSMEL Winter on 22 December 2012 at 15:07

I agree with the previous comment and think that walkers who go into the fells without taking the appropriate equipment and precautions should receive a bill for the actual cost of the rescue i.e. fuel etc.
I wonder how much fuel a Seaking uses?

Posted by Mike Griggs on 13 December 2012 at 17:22

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