A couple from Rochdale on a 60-mile lockdown trip had to be rescued from the summit of one of Yorkshire’s three peaks.
The two “ill-equipped” weekend walkers got into difficultly at the summit of Ingleborough on Sunday and lost their way due to low lying fog, ice and snow, meaning they needed to be rescued from the top of the peak by local mountain rescuers.
The worried walkers contacted the police at 4:30pm asking for help as they could not locate the paths due to the failing light and the wintery conditions, and recognising the specialist nature of the job, the police called upon the experience and skill of the Cave Rescue Organisation to assist.
The volunteer rescuers scaled the peak to locate the “cold and shaken couple” and brought them back to ground safely.
Police said the pair’s actions were “not necessary and not acceptable”.
North Yorkshire Police had previously turned visitors away from the popular beauty spot that weekend, and Superintendent Mike Walker said officers had been “run off their feet” as they dealt with “numerous out-of-area visitors” to the area.
He continued: “This couple were incredibly fortunate to have come through this experience without injury and be able to tell the tale.
“We very clearly advised members of the public this weekend to stay at home and when taking exercise, stay local to stop the spread of COVID [and] quite simply, driving miles and miles out of your village, town or city to visit an open space is not a necessary journey and is not acceptable.
“Neither is arriving at a challenging walking location, inexperienced and unprepared in treacherous weather conditions.
“By making an irresponsible and ill-informed decision, the safety of others such as the Cave Rescue Organisation volunteers is also put in jeopardy and if any injury resulted, pressure upon already stretched NHS resources.”
“So again, I would ask people to really consider their actions and the decisions they are making [and] people should only be leaving home to make essential journeys and if taking exercise, staying local.” he added.
The warnings come after the force confirmed it had issued over 70 fixed penalty notices for breaches of the COVID regulations over the weekend.
Julia Mulligan – Fire and Crime Commissioner at North Yorkshire Police – added: “The rules and regulations are already very clear but there is a significant minority who seem to think they don’t apply to them.
“The message is simple – stay at home apart from for very specific reasons.
“Those reasons do not include taking a day trip to North Yorkshire from elsewhere or travelling to a different part of North Yorkshire if you live here. Exercise should be taken close to your home, not close to other people’s homes far from yours in communities who are doing all they can to stop the spread.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.