Busy Halloween for Lake District Mountain Rescue teams

The Lake District's Mountain Rescue Teams have had a busy weekend with the Kendal, Coniston, Furness and Wasdale teams being called to assist Langdale and Ambleside.

The LAMRT was called out four times on Saturday in wet, windy weather.

Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue

First a man suffered a heart attack while climbing The Band in Langdale. The man was treated and carried to an air ambulance waiting below the cloud base before being flown to Carlisle for treatment.

Next a young lady suffered serious leg injuries in a 40ft fall while climbing on Gimmer Crag, sustaining serious multiple injuries. Two others sustained minor injuries.

The seriously injured woman was stabilised and lowered further down the crag, from where she was picked up by the Rescue 912 helicopter.

"Weather conditions were very poor, and the chances of getting a vital helicopter evacuation looked unlikely. It was a stunning and brave bit of flying in very poor conditions. If anyone had any doubts that the replacement for their much-loved Sea King would fail to deliver, then today proved them groundless."

– Langdale and Ambleside MRT

The woman was flown to Preston and is reported to be in a stable condition.

Conditions were worsening so much that one of the rescuers needed rescuing themselves, falling on the Climber's Traverse on Bowfell and suffering facial injuries.

Coniston Mountain Rescue Team were called in because the Ambleside and Langdale team were already committed to the previous, serious incident, along with members of Kendal MRT, and a Duddon MRT member who was at the Langdale base when the call outs were received. The Coniston team took the man to the valley floor.

The day ended with a fourth call out to help a group that the team said were unprepared and had become stuck when it got dark.

"An ill-prepared group of five became benighted when it went dark while they were on Crinkle Crags. Despite their impatience, they were eventually located by team members from RAF MRTs and escorted to safety. An unnecessary rescue at the end of a long, hard day."

– Langdale and Ambleside MRT

The team has issued a safety tip reminding people who use the fells not to expect to be rescued by helicopter.

There are two types of air assistance the teams can call for:

  • Military aircraft. Although capable of being flown in the dark and in very poor weather, they have many priorities and will generally only be sanctioned in life threatening circumstances. They can be grounded at their home bases by poor weather or turned back en-route for the same reason. They are stationed approximately 1 hour flying time away.
  • Air Ambulances. Based much closer, their operation is much more limited. Poor weather can ground them and they have no night flying capability. The injured person has to be loaded with the aircraft on the ground and the engine shut down. This means they need enough flat ground to land on, which is not always easy to find.

"Although MRTs enjoy an excellent relationship with both military SAR helicopters and civilian air ambulances, the majority of rescues are still carried out on foot, with no helicopter support. If you're not injured then you are unlikely to be rescued by helicopter, and may be depriving someone in genuine need of a sparse resource."

– Langdale and Ambleside MRT