The mountain rescue stretcher box at Mickledore, with Broad Stand and Scafell in the distance

The mountain rescue stretcher box at Mickledore, with Broad Stand and Scafell in the distance

Vital lifesaving equipment was left strewn across the slopes of England’s highest mountain after a mountain rescue stretcher box was emptied.

A passing Mountain Instructor came across the contents of the rescue box near Mickledore, the col between England’s two highest peaks, Scafell Pike and Scafell.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, which maintains the stretcher box, said someone may have emptied the equipment from the rescue post to use it as a shelter. The box is one of several in the Lake District, which are not kept locked. The stretcher and other rescue gear in them is available to the public and rescue teams in an emergency.

A similar box is located at Sty Head at the junction of routes up Scafell Pike and Great Gable.

A Wasdale MRT spokesperson said equipment from the Mickledore box was spread all over the ridge.

The spokesperson said: “The equipment in the box is located there for use in an emergency by the public and the team.

The stretcher box's contents were found scattered across the mountainside. Photo: Wasdale MRT

The stretcher box's contents were found scattered across the mountainside. Photo: Wasdale MRT

“While we recognise that there may be times where someone would need shelter having being benighted, we would really appreciate the equipment being put back in the same condition as it was removed.

“A number of team members went up to the box this evening to repack the box. It is also worth noting that the box is not a rubbish bin.”

The spokesperson said the team would like to educate people who may not know what the box and gear within it are used for, and added the team’s thanks to the mountaineer who found the equipment on Tuesday and picked it all up.

The mountain rescue stretcher boxes originally dated from before the establishment of formal rescue teams, and were placed to enable mountain-goers to help themselves and companions in emergencies.

A small number of the boxes continue to be maintained at sites across the Lake District. The one at Mickledore is close to the accident blackspots of Broad Stand and Lord’s Rake and lies on one route up Scafell Pike.

The Mickledore box was airlifted to the site by the crew of an RAF helicopter.

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