Lake District's oldest mountain rescue dog puts her paws up

After more than a decade of hard work, a special member of the Lake District Mountain Rescue team is retiring.  

14-year-old Border Collie, Skye has taken part in hundreds of search and rescue missions with volunteer crews.

Skye with owner and handler John Leadbetter.

She was trained as a puppy by her owner and handler John Leadbetter.

"I've been out on so many adventures, out on the hills with her. She thinks for me she's part of me, it's going to be strange not being on the hill with her, doing rescues and at 3 o'clock in the morning on the dark side of Scafell, that's my companion on the hill.

John Leadbetter

Skye and John were put through their paces with three intense years of training before Skye was classed as a search and rescue dog.

Skye is a long-serving rescue dog.

Specialist search dogs can do the work of 15 volunteer crew members. They're also better suited to the difficult terrain of the Lake District and can deal better with the inclement weather.

Now at the grand old age of 14-and-a-half, she's stepping back from her duties on the front line, for a well earned rest.

Jura, Skye's sister, will take over her role.

For now Skye hand her rescue jacket over to her younger sister Jura, who handler John says has big paws to fill.

Retirement from the frontline doesn't mean Skye is leaving the team altogether - she'll continue to visit schools and community groups to raise awareness of the work volunteer rescue crews do.