The walker was found 'in the middle of nowhere' after heading for Bowfell, right. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The walker was found 'in the middle of nowhere' after heading for Bowfell, right. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A chance find by a group practising night navigation in a remote part of the Lake District probably saved a lost walker’s life, rescuers said.

The Mountain Leader and his party found the man in upper Eskdale late on Saturday after he became lost while attempting to summit Bow Fell.

For the second time in 24 hours experienced outdoor groups came to the aid of a people in difficulty on the fells. Earlier in the day a guide and his group led a party of cold and wet Chinese visitors to safety from Esk Hause.

Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team was alerted when the walker failed to return to the valley. His friends, who had turned back to Great Langdale, raised the alarm about 7pm, prompting a search.

A team spokesperson said: “Luckily he was located by some mountain leaders, who were carrying out a night navigation exercise in the same place, commonly known as the middle of nowhere, as he went to ground, cold, hungry and very wet.

“They were able to contact police and pass their location and plan was hatched whereby they would walk him down to Lingcove Bridge, where he would be met by a Wasdale MRT group who had deployed to search that area.

“We were also assisted by four Lake District search dogs. Let’s be honest: it’s cold, wet and very dark. This man was cold and frightened and his being located by chance by a group of competent people who knew where they were, late at night in the middle of nowhere was pure good luck on his part.

“It’s no exaggeration to guess this man may not have survived the night without their chance intervention.”

After being found near Long Crag as the winds and rain of Storm Brian lashed the fells, the lost walker was escorted to Lingcove Bridge. He was given a change of clothes by the Wasdale team and walked out to Brotherilkeld and handed over to the Langdale Ambleside team near the top of Hardknott Pass.

The Langdale Ambleside spokesperson said: “These conditions can all be coped with adequate preparation, equipment and a bit of common sense.

“A flimsy waterproof and a wing and a prayer doesn’t constitute any of these. A debt of gratitude is owed to the mountain leaders who found the man, warmed him up and delivered him to Wasdale team members.”

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