Team members stretcher the injured walker towards Haweswater. Photo: Paul Glasby

Team members stretcher the injured walker towards Haweswater. Photo: Paul Glasby

A Cumbrian rescue team was called out to the far reaches of its area over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Penrith Mountain Rescue Team said its patch is the largest of the Lake District teams, stretching to the Scottish border, the North Pennines, and Nan Bield Pass and the far eastern fells above Mardale Head.

The 1,600 sq mile area covers seven Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps.

Callouts over the holiday period involved its volunteers going to the aid of walkers from Knock Fell above Dufton to the East, to Spadeadam Forest close to the Scottish border in the North, and Selside Pike above Haweswater in the South-West.

In each instance, the team deployed its members and specialist vehicles from their Penrith base.

A Penrith MRT spokesperson said: “We train regularly at different locations across our patch. It’s very varied terrain and we need to ensure that team members are familiar with its challenges.”

On the evening of 27 December, the team was alerted to a group of three in their 60 who were lost in mist and darkness on Knock Fell in the North Pennines. They had lost their compass and become confused about their onward route.

The spokesperson said: “They had warm clothing and had taken shelter from the elements in a depression. From the messages received, in spite of poor mobile signal, the team narrowed their position to three possible sites close to each other.”

Four rescuers set off in a Land Rover to undertake an initial search. The party was found near their reported position when a team member spotted a headtorch. They were then walked off the fell to their vehicle.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Day, Cumbria police requested the team help a father and young son who were in difficulties in Spadeadam forest near to Butterburn. The pair were finding the terrain more demanding than expected, having ventured off the beaten track.

“Fortunately, they had good phone signal, and the team’s PhoneFind tool was able to give a clear location for them so that they could be talked onto one of the forest roads and ultimately make their way back to the public road,” the spokesperson said.

The following day, the team was called out in the afternoon after a 31-year-old female walker injured her ankle high up on the Old Corpse Road linking Swindale and Mardale, which crosses Selside Pike, and was unable to continue walking.

Once team members were with the casualty, her injury was assessed and she was then stretchered from the fell to the roadside by Haweswater, from where she was taken to hospital. Fourteen team members and three vehicles were involved in the incident.

“The past couple of weeks have certainly kept us busy, like many teams across Cumbria,” the spokesperson said. “Fortunately all three callouts had a positive outcome.”

Penrith MRT has 38 volunteer members. In 2021, the ream responded to 41 callouts.

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