Base Opening with Leo Houlding

Base extension official opening by Leo Houlding.

On Sunday the 21st of April 2024 a small crowd of invited quests gathered to officially celebrate the opening of the new state of the art extension at Keswick MRT’s base. The building work was completed some months ago but it has taken some time to complete the necessary transformation of the interior.

After an introduction by second generation mountain rescuer Jonny Hume, the Team’s Chairman James Lamb gave an overview of the history of the team bases from their humble beginnings in garages on the side of the Central car park to the amazing facility we have now. James talked about why this extension was necessary with the growing demands in terms of number and variety of rescues and the greater capability now provided. All this requires more space for storage and training. The base now also serves as a Silver Command Centre which is a place to coordinate responses to multi-agency events such as floods, major weather-related incidents, etc.

James then handed over to our special guest, local climbing legend Leo Houlding to say a few words and officially open the base. Leo jokingly apologised for the absence of Sir Chris Bonnington who had opened the original base, ‘he was away in London!’

Leo was clearly impressed by the base describing it as probably the most advanced mountain rescue facility in the country. He┬ásaid that although he has never personally had to call on Mountain Rescue he reminded everyone that this service is provided for free in the UK and is available 24/7 whatever the weather. He emphasised that the team is run by volunteers and is funded completely by donations – ‘by the public, for the public’.