Northumberland mountain rescue teams called to rising number of 'avoidable' incidents

Rising numbers of "avoidable" rescue operations have prompted a campaign to encourage people to know how to stay safe while exploring remote areas.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) said they were seeing a rise in the number of avoidable incidents involving walkers getting into difficulty.

They said they had encountered walkers in the wrong clothing or with the wrong equipment for the conditions they were facing.

  • Will Close-Ash, of Northumberland Mountain Rescue

Iain Nixon, team leader of NNPMRT, said: “We would like everyone heading into the outdoors to enjoy themselves and ensure their own safely by thinking about the potential consequences of their actions.

“We put hours of training in and are fully equipped to deal with the challenging conditions which can sometimes be experienced in those areas – so it’s almost unthinkable that people would purposefully go out into these areas ill-equipped, dressed in the wrong clothes, or with little idea of the weather forecast.

“We would ask – please don’t put yourself and others at risk. Before you go out, please ask yourself, am I confident I have the skills and knowledge for the day, do I know what the weather will be like, and do I have the right equipment?”

Both mountain rescue teams are supporting the national AdventureSmart campaign, which aims to arm those exploring remote areas with the knowledge, skills, and weather-knowhow to stay safe whilst enjoying the landscape.

Northumberland Mountain Rescue is urging people to find out more about the AdventureSmart campaign. Credit: Northumberland Mountain Rescue

Northumbria Police Chief Inspector Colin Lowther, who works closely with the mountain rescue teams which operate in the region, said: “Our valuable mountain rescue teams are made up entirely of volunteers – many with demanding day jobs – who are called upon at all hours and in all conditions to help those in need.

“It is extremely disappointing and concerning to hear that there are people who are putting themselves and these teams at unnecessary risk – taking resources away from those who may be in real danger.”

He added: “Please make sure to plan your trip fully, and research every aspect of what it will require – such as specific weather conditions, time of year, the terrain and whether you’ve been there before.

“At a time when emergency services are already under pressure, we all have a role to play in making sure these resources are not diverted to situations which could so easily be avoided.”

  • Anyone who does become lost of injured in the hills, moors or forests should call 999 and ask for mountain rescue.  

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