Walkers on the summit of Scafell Pike. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Walkers on the summit of Scafell Pike. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountain rescuers in the Lake District are appealing to hillgoers to make the right preparations for their trip on to the fells.

The plea follows a week in which the national park’s volunteer rescuers received 25 emergency calls for help.

Almost half of them were fielded by Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, whose patch includes Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

Richard Warren, chair of the umbrella body for the Lake District’s mountain rescuers, and himself a member of the Wasdale team, said: “Not all who venture on to the high fells bring experience and knowledge with them; many seem to leave the simple basics back at home.”

He said of the 12 callouts his team dealt with, only four were down to accidents that could happen to anyone. “A further eight were very much avoidable and down to poor preparation, inadequate clothing and equipment or a lack of appreciation of the environment,” he said.

Mr Warren suggested a list of preparations for anyone heading for the Lakeland fells: “Simple checks on the weather in your planning, making sure you have a map and compass – and at least one of the party knowing how to use it – carrying torches and mobile phones in case you get into serious difficulty, walking at the pace of the slowest member, keeping together as a group and even, believe it or not, taking waterproofs and warm clothing in case the weather turns.

“All of these safety tips are what our regular fell goers understand and take on board whenever they venture on to our mountains.

“Our message is very simple: mountain rescue teams are made up of unpaid volunteers, all who will leave their work and their families without question to deal with whatever is passed to them where their skills can make a difference.

“For any visitors who might end up in the avoidable category, please spend a little more time planning the walk which means understanding and planning the navigation – preparing the route, letting people know the routes you are taking and then pack what you will definitely need for when things don’t go quite as planned.

“Do not forget your map and compass. It will make your day out much more enjoyable and very much safer and keep the teams fresh for those accidents that do desperately need their help.”

Mr Warren chairs the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, which represents the 12 volunteer teams covering the Lake District and Cumbria, with 450 members in total.

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