Two- and four-legged walkers on the commemorative event. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

Two- and four-legged walkers on the commemorative event. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

A rescue team marked its 50th anniversary with a walk along the fateful moorland route taken by a reservoir keeper whose death led to the setting up of the group.

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team members were joined on the West Yorkshire hills by the son of Robert Akrigg, lost in a blizzard in 1965.

On 29 November, Mr Akrigg set out with his son Donald to check rain gauges in the catchment area of Gorple Reservoirs, near Hebden Bridge as a blizzard blew across Heptonstall Moor.

Parting company at the junction of Reaps Water and Dicken Dyke, Robert set off towards Raistrick Greave. Donald returned to the rendezvous having completing his tasks, but Robert never arrived.

The ruins of Raistrick Greave on Heptonstall Moor

The ruins of Raistrick Greave on Heptonstall Moor

It is known that Robert checked the gauges near Raistrick Greave, but from there on, his route is not confirmed. His body was eventually discovered on 6 February 1966 when the heavy snow drifts thawed and severe weather abated.

On Saturday, Calder Valley team members, former members, supporters, families and friends gathered for a commemorative walk marking the team’s 50th year. It was set up following the death of Mr Akrigg.

Tim Ingram of the team said: “Donald Akrigg and his wife were able to join the walkers for the whole route, along with Chris Ambler, who worked for the water board at the time.

Eight team leaders, past and present, joined the walk. From left, cronologically: Malcolm Proctor, Pete Smith, Pete Farnell, Dave Kingham, Graham Astley, Mick Smith, Al Day and current team leader Ben Carter. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

Eight team leaders, past and present, joined the walk. From right, cronologically: Malcolm Proctor, Pete Smith, Pete Farnell, Dave Kingham, Graham Astley, Mick Smith, Al Day and current team leader Ben Carter. Photo: Calder Valley SRT

“Chris, along with CVSRT president Bob Uttley and Peter Legg, one of the local landowners, all provided some additional information surrounding the area and initial search.

“On reflection, even following official footpaths on Saturday in spring weather – albeit changeable with bright sunshine to hail – the conditions underfoot were difficult to negotiate, but helped all the walkers gain a better understanding of the difficulties Robert would have had finding his way in the blizzard conditions.

“Eventually all participants made it back to the starting point for some welcome refreshment at the Pack Horse Inn at Widdop; the perfect opportunity to recount stories from the past and remember the team’s origins.”

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