Mark Whittaker is welcomed into the team as a full member. Photo: Edale MRT

Mark Whittaker is welcomed into the team as a full member. Photo: Edale MRT

A newly qualified team member got his first taste of a real rescue when he was called out to aid a climber who fell on a Peak District crag.

Mark Whittaker, 39, from Sheffield, was among the first to arrive at the site at Burbage on Sunday, shortly after receiving his team jacket by Edale Mountain Rescue Team leader James Stubley.

Team spokesperson Ed Proudfoot said: “In true mountain rescue fashion as Mark was relaxing and celebrating with a cup of tea at base, the team was called out to a fallen climber at Burbage.

“The first members to arrive, including new member Mark, started to treat our casualty who received injuries to her leg and chest as a result of the fall. They were soon joined by the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire-based Helimed 53 who treated the casualty for her pain with analgesia. The team then had a short but very steep stretcher carry to the top of the crag which was accomplished by team members passing the stretcher ‘hand over hand’ up the crag and to the waiting helicopter.”

Mr Proudfoot explained the new team member, a self-employed plumber, had to pass an exacting training programme and practical tests. He said: “This weekend saw the culmination of 18 months of hard work pay off for brand new full team member Mark.

“Mark was accepted as a trainee aspirant early in 2014 and has been working solidly over the past 18 months to become a full team member.

“Aspirants must reach the exacting standards set out by Edale team’s rigorous training programme, and are assessed on necessary team skills such as medical, navigation, crag, communications, search skills plus many more. Aspirants are expected to attend at least 75 per cent of regular team training, plus extra sessions tailored for them specifically.

The scene during the rescue at Burbage Edge. Photo: Edale MRT

The scene during the rescue at Burbage Edge. Photo: Edale MRT

“This has meant that for the last 18 months, most Tuesday nights, plus regular Saturdays and Sundays have been volunteered by Mark to attain full membership.

“When aspirants are ready, the final hurdle for them to overcome is an assessment weekend where all of the skills learned are put to the test in a non-stop gruelling procession of scenarios and all-night navigation over some of the area’s most remote and rugged terrain.

“We are delighted that Mark passed the weekend with flying colours and was presented with his team jacket by our team leader James.”

As team members were leaving the scene at Burbage, they were called by ambulance staff to Froggatt Edge were a runner had suffered a serious allergic reaction and needed urgent medical attention.

Mr Proudfoot said: “A team paramedic quickly arrived to asses and administer treatment, with team members packaging on to our stretcher for carry off back to the roadhead and into an ambulance.

“Access to the track and the edge was unfortunately hindered by a carelessly parked car at the road head, which effectively blocked the gateway and stopped our 4×4 vehicles gaining access.”

The Edale team was called to its third and final incident of the day just after dark. A walker attempting to walk home over the moors between Fox House and Surprise View had become disoriented, lost and hampered by boggy ground. Mr Proudfoot said: “She called her husband for help who in turn rang the emergency services. The team arrived and quickly set up a search plan.

“The lady was located reasonably quickly by the team in Burbage Valley. She was treated and carried out by stretcher to one of our vehicles to be reunited with her husband.”

Members were back in action in the Burbage Valley on Monday when they dealt with a walker who had a suspected broken leg. The Edale team has so far responded to 121 incidents this year.

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