News Item

Fell walkers with no navigation ability

The Lake District's mountain SAR teams were called out 25 times last week - but two-thirds of the rescues were unneccesary.

This was the Search and Rescue Teams' busiest week of 2016. Wasdale's team took 12 of those calls, but explain that 8 of them were avoidable - they had simply helped people who hadn't taken the right equipment onto the fells and didn't have good enough navigational skills for the area and the weather.

One of the rescues was for 2 men who got lost on Great Gable - the mist came down and they found themselves on steep scree and had to be escorted down by mountain rescuers. Rescue Team member, Richard Warren, comments: 'If they'd had good navigation they could have found the path and got themselves safely off.'

He adds that there was another: '. . a horrendous night - cloud, pouring, torrential rain, high winds. Two people came off Scafell Pike - again, very little navigation skill: first time on the mountain, got themselves onto some serious, serious crags. Fortunately we got to them and we got them off - they would not have been in a good state if they'd had to spend the night on the mountain.'

Richard explains that people say 'It's an easy mountain, footpaths all the way to the top'. Yes, you know you get to the top but when you turn round in the mist there's 360 ways down. Because all mountain rescuers are volunteers, what we don't want is for them to be dragged out for avoidable rescues so they're wet and tired so that when the real emergency comes - the heart attack, the major trauma - they're fit, healthy, dry and can get out there very quickly and do those rescues.

One of the genuine emergencies last week was attended by Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, who saved the life of a paraglider who crashed into Blencathra.

Details from the link below, which includes a very short navigation lesson . .

  • 16 August 2016
  • RIN

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