It's unusual for a Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) to speak out about the behaviour of the people they are called out to rescue but recent charity attempts on Scafell Pike seem to have been the last straw for Wasdale MRT.
In an article headlined Mountain rescue team blames ill-equipped charity fundraisers for spate of farcical call-outs the Daily Telegraph said that the team:
blasted charity hikers' ill-equipped expeditions who go climbing armed only with GPS on their mobile phones and don't "respect the mountains".
It appears that what had finally broken the camel's back was that on Tuesday, 21st February as 90mph Storm Doris tore through the UK they were stunned to find groups of charity hikers trekking up the 978m (3209 ft) mountain, presumably as part of the Three Peaks Challenge.
You can read their report of that incident here which includes some video which will give you some idea of the conditions. That call out involved 12 Wasdale team members, all volunteers don't forget, and a total of 72 man hours and was just one of three they were involved with that day.
We know that Scafell Pike is a popular fell to climb in the Lakes, indeed our walk Scafell Pike - The Easy Way is our most popular download by quite some margin. As we say in the header for that walk:
- The local Wasdale MRT volunteers are regularly called out for people who have got lost so don't become a statistic: make sure there's someone in each group who is proficient in mountain navigation and safety.
That is aimed especially at Three Peak Challenge walkers but it is really advice for everyone. We are lucky to have twelve excellent MRTs scattered around the Lake District and they do a great job helping you if you get into trouble but we should all do our best to prevent them having to so.
With this in mind the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, which is the umbrella body for mountain rescue teams in Cumbria, have published a leaflet Stay Safe and Enjoy the Fells (Adobe/PDF, 460KB), which we think should be essential reading for anyone heading out for a walk.
Photo copyright © Wasdale WMRT 2017; Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association logo copyright © LDSAMRA and used with permission.
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