Kirkby Stephen team members at work in the blizzards. Photo: Kirkby Stephen MRT

Kirkby Stephen team members at work in the blizzards. Photo: Kirkby Stephen MRT

A Cumbrian rescue team was called out 10 times to help stranded motorists, including one couple heading for Gretna Green to get married.

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team’s volunteers were working until 3am on Saturday ending a 14-hour stint taking vehicle occupants to safety.

One team members described the shift as ‘a bit of an epic’.

In total, 25 motorists were helped after their vehicles got stuck in snow on high Pennine routes.

A team spokesperson said the first call came for vehicles stuck on the B6270 at Tailbridge Hill, just before 1pm on Friday.

“Others quickly followed for the B6276 Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale road and the B6259 Kirkby Stephen to Hawes road,” the spokesperson said. “Calls also came for vehicles trapped past Augill Castle near Brough Sowerby.

“Barely had one incident been cleared when the next came in. Some ran concurrently. Over 20 members of the team took part in the rescues.”

The team expressed gratitude to local residents who helped in the efforts to bring drivers and passengers to safety and recover vehicles.

Several farmers used tractors and quad bikes and one past rescue team member provided two stranded motorists with a night’s accommodation.

Team leader Arthur Littlefair said most trapped motorists were people passing through the area.

“The most common factor was the use of sat-nav devices to find an alternative route across the Pennines, once the A66 over Stainmore was closed,” he said.

“Lack of winter driving experience coupled with naivety about the terrain combined to leave them stranded in the most extreme of winter conditions.

“Almost no local residents were caught out.

“One young couple were on their way to be married in Gretna Green on Monday. They ought to have got to the anvil on time.”

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