The missing trio was found on the Upper Eskdale side of Scafell Pike

The missing trio was found on the Upper Eskdale side of Scafell Pike

Two parties of walkers got lost in the dark on the very day rescuers were pleading for hillgoers to pack a torch.

And a mountain rescuer even had to break off a radio interview on the subject when he was called out to help search for three walkers lost on England’s highest peak.

A search and rescue Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, equipped with night-vision equipment, joined 22 members of the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team and two search and rescue dogs in hunting for a family of four, including an 11-year-old, reported lost on Glaramara at the head of Borrowdale.

The report was received by the team shortly after 7.30pm yesterday evening. Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team member Richard Warren was being interviewed earlier by BBC Radio Cumbria about the plea to walkers to take account of the shorter days and go equipped with map, compass and torch, when his team was mobilised to look for a party lost on Scafell Pike.

Initially, there was confusion as to whether the two callouts related to the same group, as Glaramara is only about 4km (2½ miles) from Scafell Pike. A spokesperson for the Wasdale team said: “The call to the police from their mobile was cut short before all details could be collected.

“The only information known was that they were on a south-facing steep scree slope and that the lady in the party had injured her knee and was walking with difficulty.”

A full team call-out was put in place involving 17 members of the team, and assistance was requested from the Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team.

Meanwhile two Borrowdale-based members of the Keswick team found the missing family near the top of Hind Gill and walked down with them to Mountain View at Seatoller.

The 22 members of the Keswick team stayed on-site to cover the Borrowdale exits from Scafell Pike in case the missing three walkers, whose car had been found at Seathwaite in Borrowdale, turned up on that side of the mountain.

The Scafell Pike trio was found in Upper Eskdale under Dow Crag, on the south side of Scafell Pike and they were walked back down to Brotherilkeld in Eskdale and driven to Gosforth.

The eight-hour incident finally wound up at 1.30am.

Richard Warren, who is also chair of the umbrella body for the Lakeland mountain rescuers, pointed out that the walkers from Scafell Pike were faced with a taxi fare of £130 to get them from Gosforth in the West of the Lake District back to their car in Seathwaite in Borrowdale, more than enough to buy inexpensive and lifesaving torches.

“How do we get the message across?” he asked. “Perhaps your readers can add comments and suggestions. I hope we are not out again tonight and Thursday and Friday and so on.”

The Met Office’s new beta website has a widget that will tell you the sunset times for a given location. The sun will set today on Scafell Pike at 5.51pm. On Sunday, following the end of British Summer Time, sunset will occur at 4.42pm, meaning the fells will be getting dark by 5pm or even sooner in bad weather.

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