The walkers found the main path down Hartsop Above How

The walkers found the main path down Hartsop Above How

A major search for missing walkers on the Lake District fells ended when the group managed to find its own way off the mountains.

Four mountain rescue teams and six search dogs and handlers were involved in the operation to find the walkers on the hills above Hartsop.

The group failed to return to its cars which had been parked at the hamlet earlier in the day and Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team was alerted about 7.10pm yesterday.

The team notified colleagues in Patterdale MRT and the Penrith and Kirkby Stephen teams also joined the search, along with six handlers and animals from the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

The search involved about 45 volunteer rescuers, who scoured the group’s intended route from the point where they had been seen at 3pm earlier in the day.

Patterdale MRT team leader Mike Blakey said: “Once we had met with another member of the walking group it was clear that the group had intended to cross underneath Dove Crag before climbing to Hartsop Above How and descending to the valley.

“Although the group was very experienced, it was unusual for them not to have notified anyone of their safe return.

‘We quickly managed to find their cars and LAMRT tried to fix their phones using the Sarloc system. Given that we couldn’t contact the missing people by phone and the weather was deteriorating we decided to search all of the major routes to the North and North-East of Dove Crag and the crags below.

“At around 10.50pm the four people were happily found by a search dog handler en route to begin her search area. The four were uninjured but tired and they were transported back to base for tea and rewarming. Two of the group were mildly hypothermic.

“It transpired that the group had initially got lost below Dove Crag and then eventually managed to find the main path down Hartsop Above How. However, two of the group had become cold and tired and their descent was therefore very slow in low cloud, darkness and high winds. At one point two of the group were blown over.”

It was the third rescue of the day for the Patterdale team, and the 22nd so far this year.

Mr Blakey said: “We’re all very happy that this group of experienced walkers managed to get themselves out of trouble and off the mountain unharmed.”

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