Wasdale MRT in action. 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of volunteer rescue servicesReports that the anniversary plans for mountain rescuers have been scrapped may be premature.

Organisers had said that the event at Rheged, to mark the 75th anniversary of the volunteer service, had had to be abandoned since the announcement of the closure of the National Mountain Exhibition.

Wasdale MRT in action. 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of volunteer rescue services 

But the head of mountain rescue south of the border told grough today that there was still a glimmer of hope of staging the celebration at Rheged.

David Allan, chairman of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, said: “We are still a little bit optimistic we might salvage it. There is no good alternative.

“We might be able to salvage something and run something as part of the Cumbria exhibition.”

Rheged, near Penrith, has said a new exhibition based on the people and culture of Cumbria would open to replace the mountain exhibition which closed at the end of last year when it failed to attract funding to enable a revamp.

Visitor numbers had dropped to 12,000 a year. The closure of the National Mountain Exhibition came as a shock to many in the mountaineering community.

One of the purposes of the proposed anniversary celebration was the launch of an education campaign to reach the thousands of visitors who flock to the Lake District each year and whose lack of mountain savvy is causing major problems for rescue teams in Cumbria, particularly the Wasdale and Langdale-Ambleside squads.

Alternative plans are being hatched for a mobile exhibition, but this is deemed far from ideal.

Mr Allan told us: “The mobile exhibition is on the back burner. It is a very poor second best option.

“We want to get the message across to the general public who don’t read climbing magazines. They are causing us quite a lot of problems. If we have a mobile exhibition, it will be very hard to reach these people.

Rescue organisations had hoped to have the anniversary exhibition ready for March, to catch the Easter influx of visitors. This now seems a forlorn prospect.

In addition to the regular exhibits, the National Mountain Exhibition was a venue for talks and films on the subject.

See also

Rheged mountain exhibition shuts as numbers dwindle