Scafell Pike: 'not a playground'. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Scafell Pike: 'not a playground'. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountain rescuers warned England’s highest mountain is not a playground for the inexperienced.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team said it is concerned at the increasing number of avoidable incidents on Scafell Pike, after the latest callout when two people got caught out on the hill in the dark.

The pair had set off on Thursday at 3pm, with no torches or navigation equipment.

Team spokesman Richard Warren said it was: ‘a classic example of a totally avoidable situation where two young adult walkers can drive up to the Lakes that day, arriving at 3pm and set off for the summit when the clocks have just gone back.

“At 5pm it’s getting dark and at 6pm with only the light from their mobile phones they are lost and on very difficult ground near the summit of the highest mountain in England.”

The two walkers rang 999 and the Wasdale team was called out by police just after 6pm.

Mr Warren said: “The team leader used smartphone technology to accurately locate their position but they did not have the map, the compass and torches or the skill and experience to make their way safely down, avoiding the danger areas.

“Due to the situation and the potential for injuries descending with just mobile phones, the team leader had no choice but to mobilise the team: two in the control room back at base and seven team members on the hill for a four-hour rescue.

“It is of great concern to the Wasdale team that this type of situation is becoming more and more frequent.

“Many teams across the Lake District are struggling to understand the lack of thought and consideration for the volunteers who go out in all weathers, day and night at any hour.

“The Wasdale team has dealt with nearly 100 callouts so far this year including five fatalities.

“We need to get the message across that Scafell Pike is not a playground for the inexperienced walkers who believe that setting off at 3pm to climb the highest mountain in England with inadequate equipment is a sensible thing to do.”

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