A Lake District mountain rescue team has described how its members brought four young women to safety in severe weather from England’s highest mountain.
The group, aged under 20, became separated from a larger group of 36 tackling a charity ascent of Scafell Pike.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, which said the rescue was avoidable, cautioned against running charity events on the mountain with inexperienced hillgoers in February.
The team was called out at 2pm on Tuesday as high winds and rain lashed the central fells of the national park.
Team spokesman Richard Warren said: “At the time of the callout the team was unaware of the other 32 walkers, many spread out across the mountain and how the four had come to be on their own.
“The four girls were ill equipped and had never been on a walk like this before and had been up since 3 o’clock that morning for the drive from Liverpool.”
The group’s location was pinpointed using smartphone technology and six team members made their way on to the fell.
Mr Warren said: “Conditions were extremely poor with forecast torrential rain and severe winds and visibility down to 20m. Two were suffering deepening hypothermia when the team arrived to find them huddled behind a boulder. They were warmed up in the bivvy tent and put into dry clothing.
“The descent can only be described as extremely challenging, even for the rescuers, and the four girls needed regular strong encouragement to keep moving.”
The four walkers were finally brought down to the Wasdale Head car park and reunited with their friends at about 8.30pm.
It was one of three rescues the team took part in in 24 hours. A family was reported overdue when walking between Seathwaite and Great Langdale and a couple were found safe but cold and wet after spending the night huddled in an emergency survival bag in upper Eskdale after a huge overnight search which was resumed on Wednesday morning, involving more than 70 volunteers from seven teams.
The team spokesman said: “A successful outcome but the message is clear: all of the rescues were avoidable if the lost walkers in all cases had paid attention to the weather forecast, been better equipped – map and compass plus torches.
“For the four girls, organisers must keep their groups together and know where everyone is. February is not a good time to organise a charity walk with inexperienced walkers.”