Mountain rescuers in actionLakeland mountain rescuers will mark their anniversary with a day of events culminating in a knockout challenge.

Mountain rescuers in action

The district’s twelve mountain rescue teams will take on other emergency services in an It’s a Knockout competition next month, to mark 75 years of mountain rescue in the UK. A host of other activities, including demonstrations of crag rescue techniques and a visit from an RAF Sea King helicopter, will take place in Ambleside.

Organisers, representing the Lake District’s 12 volunteer mountain rescue teams, are hoping for hundreds of visitors to the event, which will be held on the town’s rugby ground. There will also be demonstrations of river rescues and search-dog techniques. The Langdale-Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team base will also be open all day.

UK Mountain and Cave Rescue 75 years logo Cumbria’s Chief Constable, Craig Mackey, will open the event at 10am on Saturday, 5 July.

Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, said: “The event will celebrate the Lake District’s involvement over the past 61 years and give recognition to the 450 rescue volunteers and their families who are totally committed to saving lives on the Lake District fells.

“To reinforce the safety awareness messages, Mountain Rescue (England and Wales) will be at the event, launching the new Mountain Safety Handbook 2008 that provides the most up to date information on how to keep safe on the UK’s mountains.”

He said the Ambleside event would be a striking platform to launch both the celebration of 75 years service and raise public awareness.

Main sponsors for the event are Sellafield Ltd., AMEC Nuclear, CH2M Hill and UKAEA Windscale. grough has also provided sponsorship for the anniversary celebration and Lakeland Radio will be broadcasting live from the rugby ground.

Entry to the event is free. 

The main It’s a Knockout competition will start at 2pm and go on for about three hours. The timetable for events on Ambleside rugby ground is:

  • 10am    Opening
  • 11am    Crag-rescue demonstration
  • Noon     Search-dog demonstration
  • Noon     River-rescue demonstration on River Rothay
  • 1pm      Helicopter winch-rescue demonstration by crew from RAF Boulmer
  • 2pm      It’s a Knockout
  • 5.30pm  Prize presentations and raffle draw
  • 6pm      Event closes and helicopters leave

Ambleside event poster Mountain rescue facts

  • There are 61 teams with 3,500 team members covering England and Wales
  • Team members are on call 24 hours a day every day of the year
  • All team members are volunteers and do not get paid
  • Most team members have day jobs
  • Both men and women are actively involved in mountain rescue
  • Training and rescuing demands a very high commitment from the team members
  • Tremendous support and understanding is necessary from partners, wives, husbands, family and employers
  • Teams are self sufficient but are charities will hardly any external funding
  • Teams need to raise about £30,000 to £70,000 each year to keep going
  • Funding comes from donations and fundraising activities
  • There are over 700 rescues each year, over half in the Lake District
  • A typical rescue may involve up to 20 team members for around 6 hours on average
  • Rescues are split 75-25 per cent between trauma and medical/searches
  • Helicopters do assist, but are only called for a relatively small percentage of rescues where urgent air support is required and weather conditions allow