Rescue Team call-outs - November 1996 to October 1998

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team


November 1996 - October 1998  




1 p.m.: Cragfast sheep, Buckbarrow.  Request to free two cragfast sheep.  They put up a good fight, but we eventually managed to haul them back to safety.



Diving accident, Wastwater.  A party of divers (six) got into difficulties.  One failed to surface.  One sustained decompression sickness and two others had minor injuries.  The survivors were given hospitality at base, while the team searched the lake by boat and the shore on foot.  After decompression at Sellafield the sick diver was transferred to West Cumberland Hospital.




Road traffic accident, Mitredale.  Three young men overturned their car and received various injuries.  Whilst two were washing their wounds, the driver disappeared.  Fearing he may be lying injured on the fells, the team was asked to assist in finding him.  He turned up at a friend’s house in Egremont three hours after the accident.




9.30 p.m.: Several reports of white flares over Dent towards Wasdale.  Enquiries in valley from locals reported falling and shooting stars.  Well intentioned false alarms.



4.15 p.m.: Fellwalking, Styhead Pass.  A young lady from Devon collapsed with weakness, dizziness, pins and needles and pain in her arm.  Possible heart attack.  Taken to hospital for ECG and tests.  Thought to have suffered panic attack due to wind chill factor, which was high.

 JANUARY 1997 



6.35 p.m.: Fellwalking, Red Pike/Pillar.  A man and wife were reported long overdue on fellwalk.  They turned up safely at 7.10 p.m. having had difficulty in coping with the severely frozen state of the ground.




2.35 p.m.: Fellwalking, Illgill/Kirkfell.  Walkers reported shouts from the direction of Illgill.  On investigation, four young men were found complete with an AA road map, who thought they were ascending Styhead Pass.



1 p.m.: Fellwalking, Lords Rake, Scafell.  A 52-year-old male slipped and dislocated his right shoulder.  He was able to walk down with assistance.



6.15 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A 32-year-old male slipped and fractured his left ankle.  After first aid and pain relief, he was carried to an awaiting ambulance.

 MARCH 1997 



8.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Two young men from Manchester who had previously attempted the Three Peaks and became lost on Scafell Pike and came back to reconnoitre the Pike for a further attempt.  They got lost again coming off the summit and were benighted.  Severe gales and rain hampered the search overnight.  The two had found the wall on Lingmell and decided to follow it, but had no torches or compass and ran out of daylight.  Six rescue teams and SARDA dogs resumed the search at 7.30 am.  The two men turned up at Wasdale Head at 7.45 am having followed the wall down the north east flank of Lingmell.



10.15 p.m.: Fellwalking, Lingmell.  A party from a college in Ambleside became cragfast in a branch of Straight Gill whilst trying to follow the Corridor Route back to Borrowdale.  They were located, but due to the extremely dangerous nature of the ground they were on, it was felt better to evacuate them at first light in order not to endanger them and the team.



5.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, The Screes.  A young couple became exhausted and unable to proceed across the large boulder field.  Evacuated by boat.



7.30 p.m.: Fellwalking.  A young couple staying in Eskdale who were said to be inexperienced walkers were reported overdue on a walk to Scafell.  They had, in fact, got off the fell, but were delayed due to their car breaking down.

 APRIL 1997 



8.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Two young ladies set off for the  pike at 2.30 p.m.  Both had Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards and were well equipped.  At 10 p.m. they phoned in to say that they were at Burnthwaite.  At 11 p.m. they still had not arrived and a search of that area was made by two people.  Nothing was found.  As they were said to be off the fell and OK, the search was not extended.  Further phone calls indicated they were lost and in a big valley.  They were found in upper Eskdale, just below Esk Hause, and not at Burnthwaite as they thought. 

Easter Sunday

28 people in six separate parties went up Scafell Pike from Borrowdale and finished up at Wasdale Head by mistake. 

15 people in five separate parties made the same mistake.  Taxi firms are doing a roaring trade!



5.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Ritsons Force.  A group of scouts crossing Ritsons Force, one slipped (pushed?) and sustained minor cuts and bruises which Howard patched up.  The scout was able to walk off.



11 am: The Screes, Wasdale.  Two dogs were reported to be barking/stuck in Great Gully for several hours.  Two foxhounds were found, but managed to get out by themselves.



3.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Sphinx Rock, Great Gable.  A 20 year old male slipped whilst scrambling behind the Sphinx.  He fell 50’ onto scree and sustained a massive fatal head injury.



7.45 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Two males left Seathwaite at 7.30 p.m. to walk over Scafell Pike to be picked up in Wasdale.  They were well overdue, but turned up at Wasdale Head at 8.30 am having spent the night on the fell.  Said to be experienced, but not well equipped.



9.55 p.m.: Fellwalking/paragliding, Slightside.  A 23-year-old male went on the Slight to camp and possibly undertake a parascend.  His friend was to meet him at 10 am, but did not find him.  Reported overdue, but search delayed until the following mid morning.  He turned up safely in Eskdale, having decided to stay put in tent due to bad weather.  Seven dogs, Millom and Furness teams assisted.

 MAY 1997 




3.40 p.m.: Rock climbing, Pilgrims Progress, Lingmell Crag.  A 42-year-old male slipped when almost at the top of the route.  As he was unroped at this point he fell and tumbled 400’ sustaining fatal head injuries.  RAF Boulmer transferred body to team for evacuation from fell.  (Mobile phone)




3.50 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of six doing the Three Peaks was caught out by a sudden, but forecast, change in the weather.  All were in varying stages of hypothermia.  Three were stretchered off and three able to walk off with assistance.  (Mobile phone)




5.10 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of three reported they were lost on Scafell Pike.  Found by team at Mickledore.  Given food and drink and escorted off.  (Mobile phone)



6.50 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Four males were found wandering around in a lost state.  They said they were just about to call the team out.  Escorted off the fell.




1.56 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell.  A 54-year-old male collapsed with a fatal heart attack.  Located after search in foul weather and stretchered off.  (Mobile phone)




5.10 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Person requested directions on how to get off the fell.  Talked down.  (Mobile phone)


4.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Seathwaite to Wasdale Head.  Two males managed to get lost on Styhead Pass.  Turned up in Borrowdale instead of Wasdale. 




1 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  An inexperienced walker with very little gear left Mitredale to walk directly to Scafell Pike.  He turned up as team was being mobilised.



13.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell.  A 33-year old French student attempted to ascend Broad Stand.  He slipped onto Bad Step and fell 40’ onto the scree.  He sustained severe facial injuries, a fracture of the right wrist and left kneecap.  After first aid RAF Boulmer flew him to the West Cumberland Hospital.  (Mobile phone)

 JUNE 1997 



3.30 p.m.: Scrambling, Ill Gill, Kirkfell.  A 67-year-old male had just climbed the main waterfall pitch and turned to look back down.  He slipped and fell 25’ into the streambed.  He had been there for 2˝ hours before his cries for help were heard.  He fractured his left femur, radius and ulna and had head injuries.  After first aid he was hauled 100’ out of the gill, then picked up by RAF Boulmer for transport to hospital.



7.10 p.m.: Swinging Fall, Wath Brow.  The team was asked to assist an ambulance crew to extract an 11-year-old boy from a streambed, where he had fallen from a rope swing.



12.50 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Yet another Three Peaks cock up.  Two parties of three overdue on Scafell Pike.  One party was found to be in Wales, not having told anyone they were off the fell.  The other three, led by an army mountain leader, turned up at 7.44a.m. at Eskdale Youth Hostel, but they did not know how they got there.  It was a night of thunder and lightning.  The organisers seemed to think rescue teams are at their immediate disposal to compensate for their incompetence and were extremely critical of the team for not starting a search before 7 am.  Perhaps if they ensured people were fit and capable of using a map and compass before they set out, it would be a better way of directing their energies.



7.45 am: Fellwalking, Broad Crag area.  A 31-year-old male undertaking the Three Peaks was said to have torn knee ligaments and be incapable of moving.  He was chased down into Borrowdale by the team and caught by a RAF helicopter.  He was tired and stiff, but not thought to have any serious injury.  Another Three Peaks wild goose chase.  Keswick team assisted in trying to track him down.



3 p.m.: Scrambling, Ill Crags, Eskdale.  A 46-year-old male fell about 40’ and, luckily, landed on his rucksack, which cushioned his landing.  He had head wounds, multiple abrasions and a fractured ankle.  A helicopter from HMS Gannet transferred him to West Cumberland Hospital.



6.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Black Sail Pass.  A 13-year-old boy from Merseyside slipped and sustained a painful sprained ankle.  He was stretchered off - all 6˝ stone of him!



8.30 am: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Party of four males doing the Three Peaks, long overdue.  Found wandering around by another party and guided down.



6.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Wasdale Head.  Four males doing the Three Peaks left Seathwaite and intended to return to Seathwaite, but turned up at Wasdale.  Police and Keswick team informed.



8.40 p.m.: Fellwalking, Wasdale Head.  Four males doing the Three Peaks made the same mistake as the previous party.  Police and Keswick team informed.



9.15 p.m.: Fellwalking, Wasdale Head.  Just for a change, five males doing the Three Peaks made the same mistake as the previous parties.  Police and Keswick team informed.



9.40 p.m.: Fellwalking, Wasdale Head.  Back to normal.  Four males doing the Three Peaks made the same mistake as the previous parties.  Police and Keswick team informed. 

In all cases attempts were made to contact their back up parties.  Mobile phones do not work too well at Seathwaite.  Hospitality was provided at Wasdale Head Inn and the taxi firms will qualify for the windfall tax if this goes on.  Can no one out there use a map and compass?

 JULY 1997 



6.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A search of Great Gable was made after shouts for help were heard.  A male phoned in from Seathwaite to say he had fallen on scree at 3.30 p.m. and had been stuck in rocks until 7 p.m., when he managed to free himself and walk down.



6.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A 51-year-old lady slipped on wet grass just below Kern Knotts and fractured her right ankle.  She was stretchered off.  (Mobile phone)



8.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Honister to Wasdale.  A man was reported overdue at Wasdale Youth Hostel.  He turned up 30 minutes later.



5 p.m.: Fellwalking, Styhead Pass.  Concern was expressed for two persons in their 60s who became separated from friends.  Both had recently had bypass surgery, but were found to be safe and well.



8.25 p.m.: Fellwalking, Pillar range.  Request from Cockermouth team to assist in search for two people between Black Sail and Bleach Green, Ennerdale.  Turned up safely before team set out.

 AUGUST 1997 



5.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Ulldale Bottom.  An Australian lady slipped and broke her ankle.  As the team was looking for her, a local farmer with an ATV trailer had taken her off the fell.



10.10 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  Reports of lights flashing on the Gable Traverse were investigated.  Two males doing Bob Graham round.  Well-intentioned false alarm.



Midnight.  Scafell Pike.  Three young ladies doing the Three Peaks were reported long overdue, having been on the summit at 7.45 p.m..  They turned up at 00.10 am.




4 p.m.: Scafell Pike.  Three Peaks challenge.  A further 15 persons, long overdue, turned up at Wasdale Head instead of Borrowdale.



7 am: Scafell Pike.  Three Peaks challenge.  A party of 12, who set off at 9 p.m. on the previous day, was reported overdue.  They were seen by another party descending Brown Tongue and eventually got of the fell safely.



9.27 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A Norwegian man became separated from his companion near the summit and eventually turned up at his accommodation at Embleton, apparently after being given a lift to Ambleside.  I suppose the two places would sound familiar to a Norwegian!



12.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell.  A 47-year-old male descending Broad Stand fell about 100’.  He sustained multiple abrasions and a compression fracture of lumbar spine.  After first aid he was transferred by helicopter to West Cumberland Hospital.

 OCTOBER 1997 



9.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of eight 16 year olds left Santon Bridge to ascend Scafell Pike.  They were reported long overdue.  Vehicle located at Wasdale Head.  They turned up at 10.50 p.m. rather wet, but OK.  Navigation problems?



7.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A party of seven males doing the Wasdale Head round split up on Styhead, two going directly to Wasdale Head.  The other five got lost coming off Great Gable and finished up at Gillerthwaite.  They were given a lift back to Wasdale Head by the team.



3.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Eskdale.  A 72-year-old male slipped near the intake wall above Brotherilkeld and fractured his left fibula.  We were able to drive right up to him and transport him back to his car.



8.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A 40-year-old male failed to return to his hotel in Ambleside for dinner as planned.  Police were asked to locate his car at Wasdale Head.  He turned up in Ambleside at 10.40 p.m., apparently having gone somewhere else for his dinner.



7.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, lakeside path, the Screes.  Two elderly people left Wasdale Head at 2.30 p.m. to walk up to Nether Wasdale.  They turned up at Easthwaite Farm at 7 p.m. having had difficulty crossing the boulder fields.



6.45 p.m.: Fellwalking Scafell Pike/Scafell.  Two very experienced walkers with two 14-year-old girls were reported long overdue.  Car park checked.  No vehicle found.  They turned up safely at 7.15 p.m. after spending some time in the Wasdale Head Inn.



2.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Broad Crag Col, Scafell Pike.  A 38 year old Italian lady slipped whilst descending scree and sustained an injury to her right ankle.  After first aid she was stretchered off.  (Mobile phone)




7.10 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Several reports of shouts and flashing lights in the Hollowstones area.  Area investigated.  A couple bivvying said a party had been trying to find their way back to Eskdale.  Well-intentioned false alarm.



24 people in six parties (not doing the Three Peaks) turned up at Wasdale Head, instead of Seathwaite.



1.05 p.m.: Fellwalking, Black Sail.  A party of three descending from Kirkfell became cragfast in a gully and requested assistance by mobile phone.  They managed to extricate themselves before the team turned out.



11 am: Fellwalking, Scafell range.  Two young men arrived at Burnthwaite in a wet and exhausted state saying they had spent the night out and abandoned their gear in a ravine.  A search by two team members resulted in the recovery of their rucksacks, which were returned to them.  Their route card indicated they should have been going down Little Narrow Cove to Eskdale Youth Hostel.  Despite having GPS, map and compass, they had managed to descend most of Piers Gill, where their gear was eventually found.



10 p.m.: Fellwalking, Langdale Horseshoe.  A 65-year-old male was overdue.  He was said to suffer from bronchitis and was not well equipped.  Team alerted, but man was found at top of Rossett Gill, exhausted but otherwise OK.




5.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Lingmell.  Several reports of flashing lights were investigated.  Nothing found.  Well-intentioned false alarm.



4.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A 26 year old male from Swindon slipped and fell 200’ down D Gully on Pikes Crag whilst trying to find his way off the Pike.  He was lowered on a stretcher a further 300’ down the gully and transported to hospital with a fractured pelvis and left tibia.  Rain, wind, cloud, loose rock and flooded becks, as well as darkness made the evacuation hazardous.  We were able to locate his position and keep him reassured as he had his mobile phone with him.  A lucky lad.

 JANUARY 1998 



A phone call from two Liverpool men was unclear and a search for their car was made in Langdale, Borrowdale and Eskdale, in the car parks near three Blea Tarns.  One man got down to Haweswater to say his companion had hurt his knee at Bleawater on High Street.



12.15 p.m.: Cries for help, Mitredale.  A farmer’s wife reported hearing cries for help in the forestry near Great Bank Crag.  A quick search was made, but nothing found apart from the local hunt, which were there unknown to the landowners.  Well-intentioned false alarm.




3.15 p.m.: Cragfast hound, C Gully, the Screes, Wastwater.  A hound called Merlin managed to get stuck between two large waterfall pitches.  We managed to haul it out safely.



7.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Two males, overdue, eventually turned up at Wasdale Youth Hostel instead of Brackenclose.



6 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A 14-year-old boy left his parents on Brown Tongue to ascend the Pike.  In low cloud, gale force winds and rain, he descended into Eskdale and was seen heading for Mosedale by a camper.  He retraced his steps to Mickledore, but managed to get onto Scafell.  27 team members began a search at 6.30 p.m. and continued until 2.30 am.  LDSARDA and Keswick team continued the search and at 7 am RAF Leeming, Millom and 12 dog handlers recommenced searching.  The boy was spotted by the helicopter crew above Rake Head Crags on Green How, Scafell.  He had a mobile phone, map and compass and had passed people who could have given him directions.  He was cold and wet, but otherwise OK.



9.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Kirkfell.  A man camping at the National Trust site saw flashing lights on Kirkfell and thought he was getting a response to his flashes.  Investigation by a team member revealed two persons descending rough ground slowly.  Well-intentioned false alarm.



1.30 p.m.: Sheep rescue. Request to free two sheep, one on Raven Crag, the other on Yew Crag, Eskdale.  Both retrieved safely.



8.15 p.m.: Snow and ice climbing, Scafell range.  A party of two were reported overdue after being seen in Central Gully, Great End, at mid day.  They turned up at Brackenclose 35 minutes later.

 MARCH 1998 




4.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Corridor Route, Scafell range.  A 15-year-old boy in a school party slipped and fractured his left leg.  27 team members turned out.  They boy was flown to West Cumberland Hospital by a helicopter from RAF Boulmer.



4.54 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A call from a 50 year old male on his mobile phone indicated that he was having trouble with his GPS and was now lost.  Two members of the team were diverted from the previous incident and he was led safely down to Wasdale.  As his car was in Borrowdale and he was in no state to walk back, he had an expensive taxi ride.  (A map and compass are much cheaper).



9.15 p.m.: Missing person, Nether Wasdale.  A 26 year old male was reported missing from his home since 9 am.  His tractor was found at the Flass.  12 members of the team with two dogs searched the area until 1 am.



The full team, plus six dogs and the Police helicopter resumed the search at 10 am, all likely areas being thoroughly covered.  He was not found.



Two members searched old buildings at Santon Bridge, Whinrigg and Gosforth, as well as mine entrances on Whinrigg.  Police divers commenced search of lake.  Police tracker dogs repeated search of Low Wood and High Birkhow Wood.



12 mid day: Continuation of search.  Area between Brackenclose and Hollowstones. area between Pumphouse, Pens End Crag and Easthwaite Farm searched by two dogs.



7.15 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell range.  Request from Keswick team to assist with location of two missing walkers, thought to be in Little Narrow Cove.  From information gleaned, it was obvious they were on Allen Crags, where they were eventually found.



11 am: Continuation of search.  Area around Pumphouse searched again.



9.30 am: Continuation of search by five SARD dogs and seven team members.  Area west of Nether Wasdale, Brackenclose to Hollowstones, Seven-Pitch Gully and woodland around Great Bank Crag searched.



2 p.m.: Full team called out to recover body of missing person.  Found by dog, Mike, in dense woodland on Irton Fell.



1.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Broad Stand, Scafell.  A young couple got themselves stuck above the bad corner.  Two passing walkers phoned a relative in London, who rang Scotland Yard and the message eventually reached the team.  A team member and some of West Cumbria MC managed to escort the couple to safety.

 APRIL 1998 



5.25 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A male made a 999 call to say he was unhurt, but descending in cloud.  He turned up at 8 p.m. at Brotherilkeld.  I suppose it was the appropriate day.  (mobile phone)



5 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A lady descending the Styhead path thought she could hear cries for help on The Napes.  She later said she could see two people moving and the shouting had stopped.  The couple apparently was not speaking when they arrived at Wasdale Head.



11.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of seven young males were reported long overdue, but turned up just before midnight.

 MAY 1998 



4.40 p.m.: Fellwalking, Lingmell Nose.  A 26 year old female slipped whilst descending and badly sprained her ankle.  She was stretchered down to Brackenclose.



4.05 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell.  A 31-year-old female slipped and tumbled about 100’ from Lords Rake.  She was winched to safety by RAF Boulmer and transferred to hospital.  She was found to have lacerations to head and loin and had some amnesia, but was very lucky not to have more serious injuries.



00.05 am: Bakerstead, Mitredale.  One of a group staying at Bakerstead fell heavily onto his right knee and sustained a nasty fracture of left lower leg.  The team carried him to our vehicle and transferred him a mile over rough tracks to an ambulance.

 JUNE 1998 



8.45 p.m.: Fell running, Black Sail area.  Request from Cockermouth team to locate an overdue competitor.  He turned up at Gillerthwaite as team was setting out.



2.18 p.m.: Fellwalking, Black Sail, Great Gable.  A 20 year old male was struck by a falling rock and suffered a minor head injury and contusion to knee.  He was brought down below cloud level and evacuated by RAF helicopter.  (Mobile phone)



5 p.m.: Fellwalking.  A party of five left Wasdale Head to ascend Great Gable and Scafell Pike.  One member was last seen at the base of Great Gable at 1.30 p.m..  He was wearing tee shirt, shorts and trainers.  No other gear.  He was said to be overweight and had a knee problem.  He turned up at 5.50 p.m..  Not exactly a well organised or equipped party.



5.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Great Gable.  A 14-year-old scout slipped from the crevasse on the Gable Traverse made greasy by a thunderstorm.  He tumble fell about 40’ sustaining multiple abrasions.  A very lucky young man.



6.45 am: Fellwalking, Broad Stand, Scafell.  A marshal for an organised event slipped whilst approaching the bad corner.  He sustained injuries to his left shoulder and hip.  He was hauled back up to the summit and carried down below cloud level for evacuation by RAF Boulmer.  Perhaps marshals should be chosen from people who weight less than 7 stones.  He must have been twice that.



9.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Lingmell.  A party descending from Scafell Pike mistook Piers Gill for the path.  They tried to escape up Straight Gill, where one became cragfast and unable to move.  He was hauled up to the summit and walked off.

 JULY 1998 



1.40 p.m.: Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award expedition Upper Eskdale.  A 19-year-old girl hurt her ankle near Cam Spout.  A supervisor told them to make camp and he would walk back to Langdale, take their vehicle to Brotherilkeld and walk up to meet them.  He took 17 hours to get to Langdale, having got lost and benighted near Three Tarns.  Two team members searched the Cam Spout area, then found the party near Three Tarns.  They were escorted over Three Tarns and met by the Langdale/Ambleside team.  A bit of a cock up!



9.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Burnmoor Tarn path.  A 61-year-old African lady slipped and broke her ankle.  She was stretchered off and transported by team ambulance to hospital.



6.25 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A 54-year-old male became separated from his sons near Broad Crag Col.  Keswick team commenced a search and requested our help.  As we were involved in another incident we checked the valley head for the missing person, who turned up at 8.10 p.m..



5.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A man and wife became separated from each other, the husband returning to his car at Wasdale Head.  The wife was seen heading for Great Moss, Eskdale.  The husband drove to Eskdale and walked up to locate her.  Shouts and whistles were heard on Mickledore and a search of the area was in progress when the couple turned up at Brotherilkeld.



11.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of three males and a female got lost coming off Scafell Pike and wandered around the Eskdale side of the Scafell range most of the night.  Despite a search by Wasdale, Millom and SARDA, they managed to reach the Eskdale road at Birdhow at 6.23a.m. without being spotted.  A hat trick of nights out for the team.



11.40 p.m.: A couple returning to the camp site at Wasdale reported a flashing light on Scafell.  Person descending.  Well-intentioned false alarm.

 AUGUST 1998 



1 p.m.: A gentleman arrived at Wasdale Head Inn demanding the team be called out immediately.  He was abusive and hostile.  His sons, aged 16 and 18, were said to be camping at Wasdale Head and were to have gone up Scafell and should have returned by lunchtime.  He went off to phone the police when we did not jump.  In the meantime a phone call by the team discovered his two sons were at the Burnmoor Inn, Eskdale, where they had told father they would meet in the first place.  It takes all sorts and we really haven’t anything else to do!



11 am: Cragfast sheep, Broad Stand, Scafell.  Three members retrieved a sheep just to the left of the bad corner.  The RAF on a training flight kindly provided transport to and from Scafell Pike.



A young couple missed the path and became stuck on the big boulder slope.  They were assisted by a passing walker and transported by the team boat back to their car.



5.50 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell, Shamrock.  A 27 year old male slipped whilst descending and tumble fell 70 metres into a streambed.  He sustained life-threatening injuries to head, chest, left arm and left leg.  After extensive first aid he was lowered 100 metres down the crag and taken below cloud level for evacuation to hospital.  After stabilisation he was transferred to the neurological unit at Newcastle. (mobile phone)



10.05 p.m.: Fellwalking (Three Peaks), Hollowstones.  Whilst regrouping at base of Shamrock at end of previous incident, distress signals were heard below Pikes Crag.  A quick line search found two young males who thought they were on Green Howe.  They were surprised at the rapid response.  We did explain we just happened to be there and were not normally that fast in finding people.  They were escorted off.



5.05 p.m.: Fellwalking, the Screes.  A diabetic lady with two large dogs was unable to cross the large boulder slope.  All were transported across the lake by boat.



9.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Green How and side of Lingmell Gill.  A party descending Lingmell heard whistles and shouts for help.  A team member found four adults and five children on the wrong side of the beck and escorted them off.



2.25 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell range.  A male slipped and hurt his back and thought he was in Little Narrow Cove, Eskdale.  His description of his surroundings did not match those of Little Narrow Cove.  He was found where we thought he was, on the Corridor route near Greta Gill.  He was flown by helicopter to hospital and found to have no bony injury.  (Mobile phone)



9.45 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A party of two males and two females were reported overdue.  They were poorly equipped and had no map, compass or torch.  They turned up as the team was setting out.



10.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, the Screes.  Two males were reported overdue on walk along the lakeside path.  They were found near Wasdale Head Hall Farm safe and well.



9.30 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike to Langdale.  A gentleman left his wife and two children on the summit to walk back to Langdale to collect his car and drive round to Wasdale to meet his family.  He was reported overdue, but turned up at 10 p.m. having underestimated the time required to make the journey.



9.45 p.m.: Fellwalking.  A party of four was reported overdue.  It was thought they had gone up Scafell Pike.  They were found in the pub after going up Pillar.



11.25 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  Two 23-year-old males were reported overdue.  Car parks were searched for their vehicle.  They were located at a friend’s house near their home in Kendal.



6.55 p.m.: Fellwalking, Illgill Head.  Three adults and a 12-year-old girl were reported long overdue.  They turned up just as the team was setting out.  Having attempted to descend Great Hall Gill and being unable to find the route past the waterfall pitch, returned to the top.




6.50 p.m.: Walking St Bees Head.  A 12-year-old girl slipped and injured her back.  She was placed in the vacumat and flown by RAF Valley to hospital in Whitehaven.



6.40 p.m.: Fellwalking, Slightside, Scafell.  Two persons became separated, the lady making her way to Brotherilkeld.  The gentleman turned up there an hour later.



7 p.m.: Fellwalking, Three Peaks.  A party of six set off to ascend Scafell Pike at 10.30 am.  They were reported overdue, but turned up in Langdale at 7.15 p.m..  Whoops!



5.20 p.m.: Fellwalking, Burnmoor Tarn path.  An 85-year-old male slipped and broke his right ankle.  He was given analgesia, oxygen and splinted, then transferred to hospital by ambulance.



8.27 p.m.: Fellwalking, the Screes.  Two males tried to descend directly from the summit of Whinrigg to the lakeside.  After descending some very loose, step and dangerous ground, they became cragfast and had to be lowered 80 metres to the ground.



3 p.m.: Animal rescue, the Screes.  Numerous calls reported a dog running up and down and howling for several hours.  On investigation it was found to be a foxhound that was confused by a fox having swum off down the lake, abruptly halting the scent.  Well-intentioned false alarm.

 OCTOBER 1998 



6.04 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell range.  A male and female were reported overdue after leaving Wasdale Head in the direction of Styhead.  The lady was said to be overweight and suffering from angina.  They turned up safely at 6.35 p.m..



9.10 p.m.: Rock climbing, Pikes Crag.  Two males were reported overdue, having been last seen near the top of Grooved Arete at 5 p.m..  They turned up as the team was being alerted, having had difficulty descending from the top of the crag.



7.40 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A 26-year-old male was reported to be missing, having become separated from his party.  He was said to be suffering from an injured knee.  He turned up 15 minutes after his informant.



10 am: Cragfast sheep, Witch Buttress, Buckbarrow.  Request to free animal stuck near top of ‘Too Many Hands’.  It turned out to be a large accumulation of bird droppings.  (Wasn’t that politely phrased!).  Well-intentioned false alarm.



10.15 am: Cragfast sheep, Pike Crag, Buckbarrow.  Further request to free two cragfast sheep.  One leapt to freedom and the other was lowered to safety.  Not a  bird dropping in sight!



6.30 am: Abandoned boat, Wastwater.  A flooded and abandoned boat was found at the west end of the lake.  Two cars were found to have been left overnight by the lake.  A search of the lake edge and riverbanks was commenced.  The two car owners were found safe and well and the boat was eventually traced to a local fisherman who had abandoned it on a fishing trip two weeks earlier due to bad weather.



7 p.m.: Fellwalking, Scafell Pike.  A group of four males were reported overdue.  A team member on a mobile phone located them.  They had mistakenly walked into Eskdale and were retracing their steps when contacted.  Conditions were appalling, with severe gales, torrential rain, thunder and lightning, hail and floods.  Half term madness!



12 mid day: Fellwalking, Piers Gill, Scafells.  A party of six scouts on an expedition strayed into Piers Gill and spent a very wet and cold night there.  Two lads managed to scramble out and meet up with their supervisor 19 hours after they should have met him.  He decided he should do something about it and the team was informed.  We found the four remaining lads with all their gear soaked, in the Gill.  Two were minus their boots and trousers, which had been swept away by wind and the beck.   

We managed to walk two and stretchered two up out of the Gill and up to Lingmell Col for evacuation by RAF Valley helicopter, which was unable to get any nearer due to gale force winds. 

The lads made good recovery after some Wasdale Head Inn hospitality.  The weather over the four days the lads were out was horrendous.  Gale force winds, torrential rain, hail, floods, thunder and lightning.  The scouter seemed incredibly laid back, unconcerned and complacent about a serious situation.  He did not seem to have exercised sensible judgement in allowing the expedition to proceed and claimed he had talked to rescue team on 26 November 1998 and we had said it was OK to leave them.  Not true.  No one spoke to him.  He then claimed we were only seeking publicity in expressing our concerns.  (Some publicity stunt).  He then said that he did not call out the team, as he did not think we would go out at night.  If only! 

The police are considering prosecution for endangering juveniles.


Updated 14 April 2000 - Richard  Warren, Team Secretary