Mountain rescue volunteers were called to five incidents within 12 hours – four of which have been described as “totally avoidable”.

Richard Warren, of Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, has spoken about the "extremely busy and exhausting" time rescuers had at the weekend.

The first incident they were called to on Saturday was a fatality of an elderly person in the Eskdale area.

Further details of the incident cannot be released. However, Mr Warren said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the walker.”

The mountain rescue team then had four other call outs, which were all “avoidable”, including the four men from Greater Manchester who got stuck on Scafell.

It is understood the men had been drinking and one of them had taken cannabis.

The incident has been widely reported in the national media as well as locally, and there has been claims by one of the men via social media that they had been panicking on the fell.

Mr Warren said: “As a group, they were emotionally feeling very concerned.

“Half of them had waterproofs. They were totally unprepared for what they had got themselves into.

“When one of them got unwell because of the substance they had taken, it added further worry.”

A helicopter was put on standby and the mountain rescue team helped the group down. Mr Warren has warned people about the dangers of using substances while out on the fells.

He said: “Taking alcohol or another substance that could impair your judgement significantly increases risk of getting into trouble. It has no place on a mountain.”

There were also two call outs on Scafell Pike and one on Scafell. The Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team supported the Wasdale team.

Mr Warren said: “These avoidable rescues are down to inadequate preparation and planning, and no real understanding of the difficulty of keeping safe in poor weather conditions.

“This coupled with limited or no navigational skills in bad weather and poor visibility and having totally inadequate clothing for a day or night out on the mountains spells disaster.

He said: “Our tremendous thanks goes out to an experienced mountain leader who was on Scafell Pike at the time of the callout.

“He, along with the group he was leading, assisted the Wasdale team in finding and safely walking down two walkers who set off at 7.30pm and were lost in the mist near the summit of Scafell Pike.

“This help allowed the team to concentrate on two other rescues that were taking place at that same time. This support from fellow mountaineers and walkers demonstrates the duty of care that everyone has to help others in need of help.

“Inability to self rescue and thoughtless behaviour as demonstrated over the week end puts mountain rescue teams under extreme pressure maintaining the voluntary service to our communities and those visiting Cumbria.”

Mr Warren has called on people to be prepared, by planning their day out according to the weather forecast and taking the right equipment (and know how to use it).

Essential items include a torch, map, compass, waterproofs, strong footwear, food, water and mobile phone.

“If you are going as a group, stay together as a group,” he added.