Message from Richard Warren Chairman LDSAMRA
Cumbria Police and the Lake District’s Mountain Rescue Team’s have seen a tidal wave of avoidable rescues that is putting a real strain on our volunteer team members and is unsustainable. Since last Friday evening we have had 19 callouts in the Lake District with a focus on the Wasdale team with 9 of these incidents. Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team cover Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England and a magnet for walkers and climbers. Many of our walkers and climbers are very experienced and know exactly what they are doing. However, 11 of the callouts were truly avoidable with inexperienced and ill prepared walkers finding themselves in serious, life threatening trouble being either missing or lost.
The Cumbria weather which was accurately forecasted this weekend has caught out many but Cumbria Police have also commented that many are dialling in ‘999’ calls with as little as 1% battery remaining on their mobile phones. This means that after the initial call their battery dies and the mountain rescue team cannot get back to them which makes finding them a bigger challenge requiring more numbers of the volunteers. Many are relying on smart phone mapping apps which drain batteries and no back up.
The rescue on Scafell Pike late on Saturday night in forecasted atrocious conditions for a family group of three lasted 12 hours and involved five rescue teams.
Stay vacation holidays are introducing a new type of visitor to the National Parks and the current quarantine rules has the potential to make the matter worse. North Wales is experiencing a similar problem and we are sure that the same is being felt across many of the UK’s outdoor holiday destinations, great for the economy but a real issue for the volunteer rescue teams.
What can you personally do as a new or even regular visitor to help our volunteer teams?
Exercise within your limits and avoid taking risks. Know your level of skill, competence and experience and those of your group. Make sure you have the right equipment for your trip to the hills and valleys noting that many of our callouts are low down in the valley bottoms. Learn how to navigate, take a waterproof map and a compass, don’t rely on smart phone technology, it can let you down. Take a torch, even on the longest days, you never know when your activity will catch you out or you go to the help of a fallen, cragfast or lost walker. Take a power bank battery charger it will save you a lot of grief plus allow you to take even more of the memory photos.
Be kind to our volunteers and respectful to our emergency service, our rural communities and to our farmers.
There is good and essential advice on the website Adventure Smart UK So Stay Safe: #BeAdventureSmart make your good day better.
Photos below from Scafell and central fells search involving many teams including Keswick, our callout no.30.