The rescue scene in Piers Gill. Photo: Wasdale MRT

The rescue scene in Piers Gill. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Rescuers said a walker is lucky to be alive after spending a night injured on the flanks of England’s highest mountain.

More than 70 volunteer team members were involved in the search for the man, who reported himself lost on the ridge between Scafell Pike and Great End.

Cumbria police alerted Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team about 6.25pm on Monday after the lone walker called for help.

A team spokesperson said: “Mobile phone reception was very poor, but a location was quickly established and, although the weather was deteriorating with thick mist and rain, he was asked to stay where he was and shelter from the wind.”

The spokesperson said that attempting to talk the walker down, with a rapidly declining phone battery and known areas with a lack of signal, would risk the team leader losing contact with the man, leading to an impossibly large area to search, in very dangerous terrain.

Wasdale MRT members were training at their base so were able to respond quickly.

The spokesperson said: “Two fast team members, travelling light with immediate first aid, warm clothing and a shelter were dispatched as there was concern the casualty would already be very hypothermic.”

More team members followed with additional equipment, but the lost walker could not be found at the original site. A search of the area began in what rescuers described as exceptionally difficult conditions.

“As we had expected to find him at the original location, many of the team members were carrying heavy loads, including stretcher halves; also an AutoPulse, which is a lifesaving mechanical device for carrying out prolonged CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest resulting from severe hypothermia.”

Colleagues from the Keswick team and search dogs and handlers from the Cockermouth team approached the search area from the North.

“By the early hours he had still not been found and teams reluctantly came off the hill, having done all they could overnight in extremely cold and wet conditions.

“The search continued at first light with more rescue team members and search dogs from across Cumbria and the North-East.”

The spokesperson said the weather remained wet and very misty, making searching on bad terrain very challenging and preventing the use of helicopter support.

The man was found in Piers Gill, on the flanks of the Scafell range. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The man was found in Piers Gill, on the flanks of the Scafell range. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The walker was eventually found on the east bank of Piers Gill about 2.30pm on Tuesday as the teams were making their way off the mountain. The gill is a notorious rescue blackspot.

“He was hypothermic, with knee, leg and foot injuries, but thankfully alive. Teams brought a stretcher and necessary equipment up to the scene and, after treatment, he was stretchered off the hill and taken to hospital.

“We rarely comment on a rescue, but in this case we would like to say he was very, very fortunate to have survived his ordeal.

“We also have to say Google Maps on smartphones are not suitable for navigating on the hills. They lack detail and, of course, will not work with a flat battery.

“There is no substitute for a map and compass and being able to use them – they can save one’s life.

“There were over 70 rescuers from nine teams involved along with search dogs and team drones. The team wishes to thank the incredible support provided from all the teams that were involved across Cumbria and adjacent regions. Also, the willingness of both the Helimed [air ambulance] and Coastguard helicopter to respond, but prevented by the bad weather.”

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