Written on 13/05/20 by Paul Oldham

A Plea from Patterdale MRT

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team have issued a statement on Facebook which has been endorsed by the Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association. Patterdale MRT cover incidents on Helvellyn from the Ullswater side which is a one of the region's big accident blackspots with particularly difficult rescues on Striding and Swirral edges.

If you're thinking of coming to the Lakes and heading off up the fells we urge you to read this before doing so.

As a mountain rescue team we're not here to police the fells. However, we as individuals are not going out into the mountains because we know the risks this may place on others should an accident or medical incident occur.

Following the Government's announcement on Sunday it's now down to people's own good judgement and conscience as to whether they travel here to exercise. All we can do is highlight our concerns and hope that people will support us as we have always supported them.

Please be alert to the fact that:

Very few facilities are open in the Lakes, a lot of the car parks are still closed as are all of the public toilets.

Our rural health care services are already stretched and any influx of visitors will almost certainly add to that burden.

Should you venture into the fells and find yourself requiring our services, any mountain rescue incident will necessitate between 10 and 30 people putting themselves in situations where social distancing is almost impossible.

Patterdale MRT in action

The PPE you see doctors and nurses wearing in hospitals is far from ideal Fell attire so whilst we'll do our very best, contact and contamination from team member to team member and to/from casualties is almost inevitable if we become busy.

Should anyone that we rescue latterly test positive for covid19 all of those personnel involved with their rescue will be forced to self-isolate along with the rest of their household. This will then obviously affect our ability to respond to any other incidents over that two week period. Remember we also have day jobs too...

While Patterdale and (I suspect) the rest of the teams in the Lakes have the ability to do so we will continue to come to the aid of those that require our assistance. However, remember we're simply volunteers, trying to help out and give something back to an outdoor community that we enjoy being a part of. As soon as that good will goes and people cease to enjoy going out members leave teams.

While the mountains seem like the ideal place to socially distance what happens when it all goes wrong? Nobody goes out for a day on the fells expecting to have to call on our help but accidents do happen. Please just take a few minutes to think about your actions and the potential consequences before planning your walk in the Lakes. At this time we'd rather you didn't venture onto the High Fells of Lake District and that's a message that goes for locals as well as those contemplating travelling to the area. We are staying away, for now, we'd rather you did too.

P.S. Coniston MRT have also made a similar post.

Tagged: news, safety

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WalkLakes recognises that hill walking, or walking in the mountains, is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.