70th Anniversary of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team – 23rd
February 24, 2023
Thursday 23rd February 2023 marked the 70th anniversary of the formation of Cockermouth Mountain
The Team came in to being on a Monday evening in 1953 at the Central Café on Cockermouth Main
Street. Rusty Westmorland, George Fisher and Mike Nixon, members of the existing Keswick MRT, had
come to speak to interested mountaineers about the requirement for a new Team that would operate in
the western valleys of the Lake District.
Following the meeting on the 23rd, the Team (the third in the Lakes) was formed primarily to attend
callouts in the Lorton, Buttermere, Ennerdale, Wasdale and Eskdale valleys. Over time there was year
on year increases in both visitors and callouts within the Lakes. Subsequently there are now ten teams
in Cumbria covering defined areas, along with the Mine Rescue (COMRU) and Search Dogs (LDMRSDA),
which cover the whole region.
Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team is made up entirely from volunteers, operating 24 hours a day,
365 days a year. The Team has seen some 250 members in its lifetime, with levels of service ranging
from a couple to 63 years.
In its 70-year history, the Team has attended roughly 2900 rescues; a majority being individuals who
have sustained injuries or become lost on the fells, there have been exceptions including; the flooding in
2009 and 2015, severe snowfall events, downed aircraft, a plethora of cragfast sheep, a raven and on
one occasion a horse stuck in a bog!
The Team’s base was completed in 2003, and opened by patrons Eric Robson and Joss Naylor. Since
completion it has been without a sign. To commemorate the 70th anniversary it seemed appropriate to
finally install a sign.
Founding, past and current Team members gathered on Thursday as Eric Robson returned to unveil a
new sign, visible from the road and carved from Honister slate, marking the Team’s founding in 1953.
Current Team Leader, Andrew McNeil said: ‘70 years is a lifetime and that’s exactly what you get from
this Team: a lifetime of call-outs, experiences, friendships, laughs and a feeling of being part of
something you just don’t want to leave.’