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Warning issued after two ‘unprepared’ Manchester walkers were rescued from Scafell Pike during blizzard

Mountain rescuers spent eight hours looking for the two men on England's highest peak.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 6th January 2022

The Lake District Mountain Rescue Association has spoken out to issue an urgent warning to the public after two walkers from Manchester were rescued from Scafell Pike during a blizzard earlier this week.

The two fell walkers from Manchester, who were described as being “unprepared”, had to be rescued after getting lost on England’s highest mountain during a blizzard conditions and were eventually brought to safety in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

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Mountain rescuers spent eight hours looking for the men on the Lake District fell, and warned that if they hadn’t been found, it’s likely they would have died.

Richard Warren – Chair of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association – was part of the rescue team, and explained to the MEN that: “The two lads from Manchester hadn’t done the preparation [as] they hadn’t got the right clothing, they had no waterproofs.

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“It was blizzard conditions. They had no compass, no torches [and] they weren’t even sure where they had parked their car.

“They were very grateful that we found them, but it was very lucky that we did [because] we had great difficulty contacting them on their mobile phone and if we hadn’t found them, they would have had to spend the night on the hill in sub-zero blizzard conditions and then it would have been a very serious, life-threatening situation.

“But we did what we always do and got them warm, put some waterproof clothing on them and took them back to the road where they got a taxi back to their car in Keswick.”

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Mountain rescuers spent eight hours looking for the men on the Lake District fell / Credit: Lake District Mountain Rescue Association

With cases such as this happening in significant numbers, the Lake District Mountain Rescue Association has urged day trippers to properly plan their walks after what was described as an “absolutely chaotic” Christmas period.

Richard Warren said his teams were called out a record 680 times in 2021, and the start of 2022 had been “just as busy”.

Mr Warren said there had been two callouts on Christmas Day in the Lake District, and there had been a “very sad end to the year” when a man died after a medical episode on Skiddaw on New Year’s Eve.

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In the first four days days of 2022, there were another 19 call-outs.

Mr Warren said lockdown has meant many inexperienced walkers are coming to The Lakes for the first time and heading to the fells without proper gear or knowledge, so rescue teams are now pleading with people to check weather forecasts and whether they have the right gear before they take to the mountains. 

Rescue teams were called out a record 680 times in 2021, and the start of 2022 had been “just as busy” / Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

“We are trying to get the message out about the importance of preparation,” Mr Warren said.

“A lot of rescues are avoidable because people get lost with no map, compass or torch [so] we really we want people to start thinking about what they are doing, when they are doing it and to check the weather.”

All Lake District rescue teams are manned by volunteers and rely on donations from the public.

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Mr Warren told the BBC that he was “extremely proud” of the all the volunteers at the 12 rescue teams in Cumbria, and also praised all those who make donations to keep the teams running – with about £750,000 a year needed across all the Cumbria teams.

“We do it unpaid,” he said.

“Mountain rescuers don’t want to be paid. They do it because they love the mountains and love helping people.”

Featured Image – Geograph (Trevor Littlewood)