The MRT are good people but sometimes ...


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By TallPaul on 10/09/13 at 2:43pm

... I think they need to put their foot down sometimes and say "enough's enough".

Did you see this which we posted to Twitter yesterday. We were linking to Cumbria Crack but it looks like he's quoting from a press release so I'm going to repeat it verbatim here:

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team have been left feeling frustrated after a couple of ill-equipped walkers got lost on Scafell Pike.

At around 8.30 p.m. on Saturday night, a late evening but with many groups still out on the mountain, a `999' call was received by Cumbria Police from a pair of walkers in their 20's who reported themselves as lost and stuck on large rocks somewhere on the summit of Scafell Pike.

Their location was digitally established by the team leader using the SARLOC system as being on a rocky path within 100m of the summit.

A spokesman for Wasdale MRT said: "They were very lightly equipped, no spare clothing, no map or compass but did have torches.

"They had `gone on ahead' of the father and friend on the way to the top and became lost. The father had the only map and compass in the group. If the couple had a map they would not of known how to use it.

"As they were so close to a busy summit, the team leader worked hard to encourage them to make their way to the top and find some helpful walkers. They were unwilling to move as `legs were seized up' even though they knew the team would take a further two hours to get to them.

"A limited callout followed, with four team members setting off plus one team member already on the mountain working with a group and a further team member from Penrith MRT already on the mountain. The father and friend, who had presumably given up, were descending via Lingmel Col. They were quickly located by the team member on the fell but the father was not willing to re-ascend to assist in locating his daughter and friend even though their location was now accurately known by the team leader and they were safe on a path although cold and wet.

"The team eventually brought the pair back down to the valley bottom, after a very frustrating night for the team leader, and reunited the pair with the father who was asleep in his car at the bottom. The incident was closed at 2.30 a.m.

"Inexperience, lack of equipment, insufficient preparation, inability to get themselves out of trouble, not staying together as a group and a less than helpful group leader (the father) - another avoidable rescue to add to the many the volunteer teams are having to deal with."

It was comments like "They were unwilling to move as `legs were seized up'" and "the father was not willing to re-ascend to assist in locating his daughter" and most damningly that "the father who was asleep in his car at the bottom" while six MRT volunteers sorted out this mess he and his family had got themselves into that got me.

As I said at the top of this post the MRT are too good sometimes. If people aren't prepared to help themselves they really don't deserve helping. Do they?


By pete_rbg on 10/09/13 at 5:54pm

I saw the same posted on Grough, brought to my attention by Tallis (Taz) referring to it on Facebook.

I guess, once MRT have started on a rescue 'task', they're obliged to see it through to its conclusion (weather permitting). They wouldn't have known that the group were, shall we say, 'undeserving' until they were well into the rescue. Rather difficult at that point to say, "sod yer" and leave people at risk...

... sometimes I wonder whether MRT should be allowed to invoice the people they rescue, a little bit like the ambulance service does for road accidents.


By TallPaul on 10/09/13 at 6:41pm

That initial phone conversation where they were simply refusing to help themselves was the one where I would have been finding it hard not to say "well, you've got two choices here: you either unseize your legs and walk up the hill a bit (and then phone us back if you can't find any help) or I hang up now. What's it to be?"

But then that's probably why I'm not the right person to put on the end of the phone at MRT control ;)

The MRT crews do have a hard time of it though, especially the Wasdale team. The number of call outs we read about, especially from Three Peakers who get lost because of course they're all doing it in middle of the night.

The classic trick seems to end up in Eskdale. People even do that in the day time! I confess I never understand it. For more people doing Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head it's pretty much a straight up and down again. If you make it up you just turn around and go back the way you came. How hard can that be? Harder than one might think it appears given the number of call outs the Wasdale MRT get.


By pete_rbg on 10/09/13 at 8:55pm

With regards to the 'Three Peakers': Yeah, okay, they're doing it in the night, but when undertaking such a challenge, surely, a little bit of planning and forethought should be common practice - I guess not :?


By TallPaul on 10/09/13 at 9:25pm

To be fair I think quite a lot of the Three Peakers are managed by professional companies: they certainly can provide transport between the three locations so that the walkers can get some kip en route but I'm not sure if they provide guides to accompany them up the three peaks. They shouldn't really need to though: none of them are exactly technical using the routes preferred by Three Peakers, it's just a quick slog up and down on the most well trodden path.


By pete_rbg on 10/09/13 at 10:03pm

... I'm not sure if they provide guides to accompany them up the three peaks. They shouldn't really need to though...

Yeah but, no but... ... If folk want to 'do' the Three Peaks, surely they have an interest in doing it right and, consequently, will do some prep. and recognise potential fatigue playing its part.

But what do I know :oops:

Not a lot, to be honest :!:


By beth on 22/10/13 at 10:06pm

So as we were just discussing... I came across a blog posting today, it gets a little sweary but he's got a point or three: tracksterman. I'm not sure I want to see on every page of our walks a paragraph of nagging about this that and t'other - so does that make us as bad as the dead-tree magazines?... Hmmm. However, litter on the fells is ridiculous. In some social circles it must be the fashion to leave a trail of tissues behind you as even on the quiet ones the paths are marked with them. MRT's are being called out every week for people only a little bit lost. And it really is only going to get worse unless people start taking responsibility for themselves, and the environment. It's not only national 3-peak folk either.


By pistolrider on 28/11/13 at 4:57pm

Yep! Loads of admiration for Civilian MRT's. They are filled with excellent people and do a great job, on a purely voluntary basis. I admit we had it easy on RAF MR......Free transport, free food, free accommodation and although this was a voluntary duty, we were being paid for the work we did.

However, no matter how much the author of that piece from the Wasdale Team moans, it must be remembered that they don't have to volunteer, its another job to add to the teams stats and without call-outs there would be no point in having a team at that location.

If there was a policy of having to pay for MR then we would be getting into an insurance situation as you find on the continent. The beauty of this countries system is we can wonder onto the hill at any time without worrying whether our insurance is up to date or if our cover is sufficient for an injury sustained.

And finally...............Who in their right minds, wants to do the three worst slag heaps (hills) on the British mainland all in one go.


By TallPaul on 28/11/13 at 8:12pm

And finally...............Who in their right minds, wants to do the three worst slag heaps (hills) on the British mainland all in one go.

"But it's for charidy" ... which apparently excuses everything.


By beth on 28/11/13 at 11:25pm

Although you make a good point, Jim, about all being volunteers - they don't have to, I don't think many envisaged being called out for people who simply can't be bothered to help themselves in any way. As a general rule MR folk seem happy to shrug off a lot with a "we've all been there, its no bother".

Now if they did the 3peaks entirely on foot, running between them, that would be a challenge!


By TallPaul on 28/11/13 at 11:46pm

There is a sailing version of the Three Peaks (a man wearing two hats writes ;) ) where you sail from Fort William to the west coast of Wales via the Cumbrian coast. The rules are that at least one of your crew has to climb all three of the Three Peaks, starting from being rowed ashore at a conveniently (for some values of "conveniently") close point, and you're not allowed to use your engine to propel the boat (I think you may be allowed to use it to berth).

A bloke we know vaguely did it. He was the person who did the hills and he ran up and down all three from the shore.

On the same trip they also towed the yacht using their dinghy when they were becalmed, taking turns to do the rowing.

Completely barking.


By pistolrider on 29/11/13 at 11:57am

If I never went up Scafell, The Ben or Yr wyddfa ever again; when I look down from heaven (or look up from Hell) when I'm dead and gone, I know I won't be saying "I wish I'd bagged those hills after I left MR."

Oh yes! And the same applies to Kinder and Bleaklow.

P. S. Might do Crib Gotchya and Crib-a-Disco ( Stafford MRT, hill re-naming policy) but I would have to be dropped off at the bottom of Crib Goch and I would refuse to go to the summit.


By pistolrider on 29/11/13 at 12:06pm

Yes Paul! There is or used to be a 3 Peaks race. My mates Gwyn Lloyd and Graham Stamp did the support for the RAF team in the early 80's. The RAF employed a couple of marathon runners, who had hardly spent any time on the hill, they were fine on the road but when it came to the steep bits...........useless!!!!!!


By pistolrider on 29/11/13 at 12:16pm

Although you make a good point, Jim, about all being volunteers - they don't have to, I don't think many envisaged being called out for people who simply can't be bothered to help themselves in any way. As a general rule MR folk seem happy to shrug off a lot with a "we've all been there, its no bother".

Just trying to spark some lively debate :lol: (I'm a very naughty boy and I am slapping the back of my hand, as I type.)


By beth on 29/11/13 at 2:54pm

I can see your lively debate :D

There are certainly some much more interesting hills, and fells, than the big 3 but they have a cloak of invisibility to anyone outside of the baggers fraternity. It's more about the highest, tallest, biggest, quantity over quality. Hardly ever do you hear of a challenge run over the 900m fells, or someone proudly proclaiming they are heading for Yewbarrow. We'd like to change that, to spread the enjoyment of just being out amongst the fells and mountains.

Anyway, don't slap yourself too hard, it might hurt!


By pistolrider on 30/11/13 at 7:31am

I suppose if you want to be alone and quiet and get above 2000ft, the Lakes is not really the best place to be. However the following areas spring to mind........

............The Northern end of the Helvellyn Group, the Eastern side of the High Street group, around Hawes Water and the Buttermere Fells that lie to the East of Crummock Water.



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Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.