Mountain Rescue Box Ransacked amidst surging callout numbers
June 2, 2023
Pic 1 – Ransacked Kit
Pic 2 – New Signage put on Stretcher Box
Amidst a surge in call-out numbers on and around Scafell Pike in May, and across the region more broadly, the Mountain Rescue Stretcher box at Mickledore, between Scafell and Scafell Pike, was ransacked over the Bank Holiday weekend just gone, with some kit now missing and other contents strewn around the fell and left open to the elements along with a used disposable BBQ and various items of food waste and rubbish.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue volunteers have already been up to sort out the mess left behind and ensure that the rescue kit is in working order. At the same time the team have added some simple signage to the Stretcher box to help point hikers in the right direction in bad weather, and hopefully reduce callouts from lost walkers.
Penny Kirby, one of the Team Leaders of the local Rescue team said:
“We have seen a surge of callouts this year since Easter. May has been especially busy, perhaps due to a combination of 3 Bank holidays, people holidaying more at home due to the costs of overseas holidays and the rising cost of living in general. The last thing our team of volunteers really want to be doing to is repairing rescue kit and cleaning up disposable BBQ rubbish. We are very concerned about the impact so many callouts are having on our team members, their families, and their work.”
Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team have already had 70 callouts this year, 27 of them in May. This compares to 42 callouts by the end of May in 2022, and only 5 in the month of May itself. In 2021, the team dealt with 19 callouts up until the end of May,
and 5 in May. Team Leaders are also pointing out that the busy summer season is not upon us yet.
Penny Kirby continues:
“We made a decision recently, in consultation with the Lake District National Park Authority and the National Trust, to add some signage to the Mickledore Stretcher box to try and help lost walkers find their way safely down the fells and reduce callout numbers. Roughly 60% of our callouts in the Wasdale Team are on Scafell Pike and in recent years around 60% of those are for lost or missing walkers. Anything we can do to help them self-rescue and reduce the number of times we are called out is worth a try.”
While callouts on Scafell Pike are especially high, the region as whole is also seeing significantly higher callouts. The highest year on record for callouts across the region was 2021 which saw 681 callouts in total across the year: 141 of those by the end of May. So far this year that figure for callouts by the end of May is 261 – an 85% increase on 2021.
One initiative that the Lake District teams are promoting is a campaign called Adventure Smart to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to prepare properly for their adventures, making a good day even better and helping to reduce the high numbers of lost and missing walkers which are avoidable.
Pic 3 – New signage
Pic 4 – New signage