At 1820 on Tuesday evening, Wasdale, Cockermouth and Keswick MR teams were called to search for a missing 36 year old male fell runner who had become separated from his partner whilst attempting to run legs 3 and 4 of the Bob Graham Round. The runners had been descending from Red Pike heading for Little Scoat Fell at a height of around 750-850m when they became separated. When the bad weather arrived, the running partner backtracked to a point where he believed he would meet up with his partner but was unable to find him in the thick cloud. After searching for a considerable time in worsening weather, he eventually gave up and made his way over to Black Sail Pass. From here he was able to see Black Sail Youth Hostel and he made his way down to the hut and raised the alarm.
Over 60 team members from Wasdale, Cockermouth and Keswick MR teams along with search dogs carried out a thorough search of all major footpaths and all obvious escape routes along the planned route in strong wind, heavy rain and thick cloud until approximately 0200 the next morning. At that point with no further information on the location of the fell runner and the difficult search conditions which prohibited the use of a helicopter, the very difficult decision was taken to call the search off until first light. The search was resumed again at 0500 on Wednesday 2nd May with additional team members from Penrith MRT, Kirkby Stephen MRT, Coniston MRT, Kendal MRT and Northumberland MRT. The coastguard search and rescue helicopter also joined the search at that point.
At approximately 0730, the missing fell runner was found and was flown by coastguard helicopter to the RVI hospital in Newcastle. Sadly, they were unable to resuscitate him.
This was a major search involving over 100 rescuers, 9 dogs, a coastguard helicopter and much assistance from the NWAS Air Desk and Cumbria Police. It’s always very difficult mounting a search like this covering such a large area, with a potentially moving casualty at night and in challenging weather conditions and low visibility so there was always a low probability of a find at night which unfortunately proved to be the case.
This was an experienced fell runner doing something that many of our team members enjoy so it was a particularly poignant call out for many.
22 Keswick team members – 8 hours 40 minutes