grough likes to think we’ve a reasonable knowledge of what goes on in the outdoors world. We know that birds fly, sheep baa, ramblers grumble.
So how does a cow end up in a tree? A cursory glance at the annual report of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) reveals the usual litany of sprained ankles, wayward Scouts and stranded occupants of Chelsea Tractors.
But how about this one: nine members of the association were called out to ‘assist [a] farmer with a cow in a tree over resurgence’.
The logged incident happened at Scargill near Kettlewell in North Yorkshire and, according to Phill Nelson’s surface leader’s report (the WFRA also handles cave rescues): “Land Rover winches are used for retrieving cows that are stuck, usually in steep sided gills.
“The cow is placed on a cattle sledge and winched up the hill (sounds simple!).
“Winching procedures and associated equipment were reviewed this year and a revised working practice is now in use.
“This also involved the understanding of the forces that can be encountered when moving heavy loads.”
We bet it did! Watch out for flying bovines when you’re out in the Dales. Two different dogs also managed to get themselves stuck on different occasions down rock fissures at the same location.
Among the more interesting human rescues was that of a woman who fell down a four-foot hole at Hawkcliffe, near Steeton, after accepting a proposal of marriage.
The team was called out 24 times in 2005, an increase of two on the previous year. The biggest turnout was that of 43 of the team, along with two Search and Rescue Dogs Association animals, for a missing walker in the Valley of Desolation near Bolton Abbey. 40 members also attended the search for a teenage student caver missing in a flooded Manchester Pot in upper Nidderdale, which sadly turned out to be fatal.
The team knocked a £20,000 hole in its bank balance with the purchase of a new radio system. It also introduced text messaging as the primary means of mobilising its members to incidents.
Members of the association have also had to contend with a heightened public scrutiny in the form of a fly-on-the-wall film crew following their exploits for a television series The Real Emmerdale.
More details of the team are on its website.