Mountain rescue box 'ransacked' as call-outs surge in numbers

Many items in the rescue box had to be replaced. Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue

A crucial mountain rescue box was "ransacked" over the previous Bank Holiday weekend as call-outs surged.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue box at Mickledore had some of its content taken, with kit missing and other itms left across the fell and open to the elements.

A disposable barbecue alongside various pieces of food waste and rubbish were also left.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue had to ensure that the kit was replaced and to clean up the rubbish left. At the same time, the team added some signage to the stretcher box to help point hikers in the right direction in bad weather, and to reduce callouts from lost walkers.

New signage has been added to the box. Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue

Penny Kirby, one of the team leaders of the local rescue team said: “We have seen a surge of callouts this year since Easter.

"May has been especially busy, perhaps due to a combination of three bank holidays, people holidaying more at home due to the costs of overseas holidays and the rising cost of living in general.

"The last thing our team of volunteers really want to be doing to is repairing rescue kit and cleaning up disposable BBQ rubbish. We are very concerned about the impact so many callouts are having on our team members, their families, and their work.”

Wasdale Mountain Rescue has been called out to 70 situations this year, with 27 of them in May. This figure is a huge increase on the five for May they received last year.

The stretcher box is around 840m up Scafell Pike. Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue

Ms Kirby added: “We made a decision recently, in consultation with the Lake District National Park Authority and the National Trust, to add some signage to the Mickledore stretcher box to try and help lost walkers find their way safely down the fells and reduce callout numbers.

"Roughly 60% of our callouts in the Wasdale Team are on Scafell Pike and in recent years around 60% of those are for lost or missing walkers. Anything we can do to help them self-rescue and reduce the number of times we are called out is worth a try."

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