Rescuers pleaded with people to take the mountains seriously. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rescuers pleaded with people to take the mountains seriously. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A mountain rescue team has vented its frustration after members were called away from their dinners only to find the 999 caller was tucking into a meal and glass of red wine at the pub.

A spokesperson for Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team urged hillgoers to take the mountains seriously after the incident on Saturday evening.

The team said police called its volunteers out to help a group of walkers who were making slow progress descending from the fells.

The spokesperson said: “It turns out that the group were actually benighted without torches, having been caught out when it went dark.

“One had suffered a very minor injury but perhaps they had all bitten off more than they could chew?

“When we went to meet the original 999 caller, at the pub, we were disappointed to see that he was tucking into his dinner and a glass of red. Rather thoughtless given I’d just left my dinner at home!

“Another team member had just left his dinner with family, another a wedding and another a party. Now we aren’t a rescue team known for criticising but this incident was 100 per cent avoidable, and we didn’t hear a thank you.

“It turns out that the five were part of a group of 76. The leader of the group was safely tucked up back in his accommodation when we called to ask him whether he could account for the other 71. He couldn’t and there were two more walkers missing.

“Luckily they made it down to a campsite under their own steam while confusion continued. Let’s hope the others are all safe and we’re not going back out.”

The Langdale Ambleside team was called out to two lost walkers near Grisedale Tarn. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Langdale Ambleside team was called out to two lost walkers near Grisedale Tarn. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Patterdale spokesperson said while the rescue was underway, colleagues at Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team received another call for two walkers who were lost in the same area.

Both teams began a search and eventually the missing people made their own way down to the valley.

The Patterdale MRT spokesperson said: “This group had separated and both pairs were well and truly lost. Neither really knew where they had been and neither could use a map properly – not that that would have helped as they didn’t have one. Neither did they have torches.

“Please, please, please take a map, appropriate clothing and a torch if you are going into the mountains. Then we can save our time for helping people who really need our assistance and we might even get to enjoy our dinner, wedding or party.

“We don’t mind helping at all but we’d really like to see more people taking the mountains seriously. We want people to keep themselves safe.

“However, that said, if you ever feel like you need a rescue team just call 999 and ask for the police and then mountain rescue. We will always come out.”

The volunteer rescuers were finally able to reach their beds in the early hours of Sunday.

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