Stanley, back safe above groundA call-out yesterday provided paws for thought for rescuers in the Yorkshire Dales.

Stanley, back safe above ground

The effort to free a Lancashire walker from a pothole near Horton-in-Ribblesdale marked a significant milestone in the Cave Rescue Organisation’s record: the 400th animal rescue. The Staffordshire bull terrier was the latest in a long list of four-legged creatures needing help after coming to grief in the Dales.

Four-year-old Stanley, from Oswaldtwistle, took an unexpected trip underground while walking with his owner and friends who were tackling a Land’s End to John O’Groats walk. He fell 9m (30ft) down a pot on the Pennine Way, at Sell Gill Holes.

An emergency call by his owner Frank Mitchell led to rescuer Kevin Chadwick abseiling down the limestone shaft to aid the dog’s exit, after assurances that Stanley was ‘soft’. He was brought to the surface unharmed.

Top of the list of the CRO’s animal rescue statistics are, not surprisingly sheep, with 42 ovine subjects needing extrication from the Dales limestone. Next most popular surprise cavers are dogs, 69 of which have been plucked from the dark depths of the Pennines. 24 cattle, which must take a bit more muscle to get out, one cat and one rabbit have all benefited from the volunteer rescuers' efforts as have, oddly, nine ducks.

Dave Gallivan, of Horton in Ribblesdale, duty controller for the incident, said: “CRO members are always conscious of the fact that the people they turn out to help are on working farmers’ land, so are happy to rescue livestock, too. On this occasion, we recovered a walker’s dog, next week it could be someone’s sheep or lambs.”

More importantly, the organisation, based in Clapham, has gone to the aid of more than 3,000 people since its formation in 1934. It deals with not just cave rescue, but fell rescue too in the western section of the Yorkshire Dales.

On Sunday, a 55-year-old Leeds woman was helped after injuring her face in a fall while descending Ingleborough to Little Ingleborough. She was helped to Gaping Gill where the CRO’s Land Rover took her to Clapham.