Severe weather catches many walkers out

The Wasdale team was called out at around 4.00 pm yesterday (Sunday 7th) to attend a family member who had sustained an ankle injury but the family were also trapped by the rising stream levels. This 5 hour rescue was made more difficult due to its location between Greta Ghyll and Piers Ghyll on the descent from Scafell Pike.

The weather that morning was good but with a forecast for very heavy and persistent rain coming in at midday. The two younger members of the family required stretchering off the mountain with some urgency due to the water levels in the surrounding streams rising to the point where even team members were at risk of being swept away. In these conditions, even with the best waterproofs, hypothermia is a major risk factor, especially with younger members of groups. 

Whilst this rescue was taking place Patterdale MRT was also attending a similar situation where a party of young walkers were suffering mild and deteriorating hypothermia. This rescue involved three mountain rescue teams plus a helicopter.

Over the weekend there were seven ‘999’ calls involving five of the Lake District teams: Patterdale, Keswick, Langdale Ambleside, Duddon & Furness and Wasdale, along with RAF Leeming MRT.  Since the beginning of August there have been fourteen incidents across Cumbria and Wasdale MRT has dealt with twelve ‘999’ calls in the last two weeks. Many of these rescues could have been avoided by simple but essential preparation and planning.

Appropriate clothing and footwear, along with map, compass and torch, and knowing how to use, plus checking the forecast would go a long way to reducing the workload on our teams.

Video of the rescue can be seen on the team’s webpage and Facebook page: www.wmrt.org.uk