Rescuers stretcher one of the family members from the hillside. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Rescuers stretcher one of the family members from the hillside. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Mountain rescuers risked being swept away in torrential mountain stream when they were called out to help a family group on the slopes of England’s highest mountain.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team was alerted about 4pm on Sunday when a family member injured an ankle in deteriorating weather.

Richard Warren of the team said the group was also trapped by rising water levels in the becks in the area. “This five-hour rescue was made more difficult due to its location between Greta Gill and Piers Gill on the descent from Scafell Pike,” he said.

“The weather that morning was good but with a forecast for very heavy and persistent rain coming in at midday.

“The two younger members of the family required stretchering off the mountain with some urgency due to water levels in the surrounding streams rising to the point where even team members were at risk of being swept away.

“In these conditions, even with the best waterproofs, hypothermia is a major risk factor, especially with younger members of groups.”

Mr Warren said, while the rescue was taking place, Patterdale MRT was attending a similar situation where a party of young walkers were suffering mild and deteriorating hypothermia. This rescue involved three mountain rescue teams and a helicopter.

Over the weekend there were seven 999 calls involving five of the Lake District teams: Patterdale, Keswick, Langdale Ambleside, Duddon and Furness and Wasdale along with RAF Leeming MRT.

Since the beginning of August there have been 14 incidents across Cumbria and Wasdale MRT has dealt with 12 emergency calls in the past two weeks.

Mr Warren said: “Many of these rescues could have been avoided by simple but essential preparation and planning.

“Appropriate clothing, footwear along with map, compass and torch and knowing how to use plus checking the forecast would go a long way to reducing the workload on our teams.”

Wasdale team members cross a swollen stream during the rescue.

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