The group was near Piers Gill, a deep ravine on the slopes of Lingmell. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The group was near Piers Gill, a deep ravine on the slopes of Lingmell. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A group of walkers had to be guided to safety from England’s highest mountain after they got lost in the dark.

Mountain rescuers appealed to national broadcast media to publicise the problem of ill equipped walkers taking to the Lake District hills.

The incident happened less than 72 hours after Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team had to rescue two people lost on Scafell Pike in the dark, in what it described as an avoidable rescue.

In the latest incident, the party of 10 people had no maps or compasses and were relying on smartphones to navigate on the 978m (3,209ft) peak on Saturday night and got lost when they lost their signal.

Wasdale MRT was alerted at 2.15am on Sunday.

Team spokesman Richard Warren said the walkers set off from Wasdale Head at 7.15pm and planned to be off the mountain in four hours. Despite having no coverage on their own phone network, they were able to call 999 because of emergency roaming which will search other networks to connect a call.

Mr Warren said: “The team leader texted a message which activates GPS and, if there is sufficient signal, will locate them.

“They were near the top of Piers Gill, high on the mountain at one of our area’s blackspots for lost people and a number of fatalities. They were talked off the mountain by the duty team leader.

“Thanks to Penny for staying up all night and guiding them down safely by phone and not calling the team out for yet another truly avoidable rescue.”

Mr Warren said the team wanted television companies to cover the problem and bring it to the public’s attention. “We need to get the message out to a much wider audience as this is becoming a nonsense and needs to stop before yet more walkers, and potentially rescuers, suffer hypothermia, injuries and in many of these situations life-threatening injuries,” he said.

“We do know how they make these mistakes and we do have solutions but it will require action from the National Trust and the national park who are currently working with us on this.”

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