The walker had set off from Langdale to ascend Scafell Pike

The walker had set off from Langdale to ascend Scafell Pike

Rescuers have warned walkers to think carefully before heading for the Lake District hills this weekend.

The plea follows a fraught rescue of a man lost in the dark on the Scafell Pike range in atrocious weather.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, one of three involved after the 34-year-old activated an SOS signal on his SPOT device yesterday, said the forecast for the coming days suggests the weather could be even worse.

A team spokesperson said the walker could have been at serious risk if he hadn’t been found quickly. Wasdale MRT was alerted by the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre when it received notification of the distress signal from a position in the central fells south of Great End.

The spokesperson said: “After some investigation, this turned out to belong to a lone 34-year-old walker who had become benighted and lost, on a walk from Langdale.

“Wasdale turned out immediately to search up Eskdale, and over the top of Scafell, in absolutely atrocious conditions, with high wind and driving rain. They requested assistance from Keswick and Langdale teams to search their sides of the mountain, and approach routes.

“After the search had been underway for a while, the [missing person] managed to talk to Police Scotland, and give a reasonable description of where he was. As a result of this, he was found quite swiftly by Wasdale team members in Calf Cove.

“Had that not been the case, he could have been at serious risk.

“As it was, Keswick team members who brought the casualty down to Seathwaite – as this seemed the fastest evacuation route – were faced with enormous becks to cross, and alongside rivers in full spate, while being battered by high winds.

“The road down Borrowdale was covered by flood water in a dozen places, which made the drive back to base almost equally interesting.

“The forecast for the coming weekend is as bad as yesterday, if not worse. It would be advisable to consider carefully what, if any, might constitute a safe outing if you are considering being on the hills.”

The rescue involved 21 Keswick MRT volunteers for almost five hours, along with colleagues from the Langdale Ambleside and Wasdale teams.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for rain in north-west England as a slow moving front passes over the area, with up to 200mm of rain possible on some mountains. It said: “Watercourses may become dangerous, deep and fast-flowing, while some transport disruption seems likely.”

Gusts of over 100mph are possible on Saturday above 900m, with a temperature of only 4C, leading to severe windchill. As rain clears after Sunday morning, temperatures will drop and sleet is likely, with temperatures on mountain tops dropping to below freezing.

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