Englands highest peak isn’t a playground for the inexperienced, especially this time of the year, mountain rescuers have warned.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue team has said is getting worrying the increase in the number of avoidable incidents on Scafell Pike, coming after the latest incident when two people got caught out on the hill in the dark.
The key word is “avoidable” they have no problem if it’s a real emergency they have no problems, but inexperienced people are taking to the hills when the weather is turning.
The pair had set off at 3pm with no navigation equipment or torches.
Team spokesman Richard Warren said it was: ‘a classic example of a totally avoidable situation where two young adult walkers can drive up to the Lakes that day, arriving at 3pm and set off for the summit when the clocks have just gone back.
“At 5pm it’s getting dark and at 6pm with only the light from their mobile phones they are lost and on very difficult ground near the summit of the highest mountain in England.”
The Wasdale team was called out by police at just after 6pm after two walkers rang 999.
Mr Warren said: “The team leader used smartphone technology to accurately locate their position but they did not have the map, the compass and torches or the skill and experience to make their way safely down, avoiding the danger areas.
“Due to the situation and the potential for injuries descending with just mobile phones, the team leader had no choice but to mobilise the team: two in the control room back at base and seven team members on the hill for a four-hour rescue.
“It is of great concern to the Wasdale team that this type of situation is becoming more and more frequent.
“Many teams across the Lake District are struggling to understand the lack of thought and consideration for the volunteers who go out in all weathers, day and night at any hour.
“The Wasdale team has dealt with nearly 100 callouts so far this year including five fatalities.
“We need to get the message across that Scafell Pike is not a playground for the inexperienced walkers who believe that setting off at 3pm to climb the highest mountain in England with inadequate equipment is a sensible thing to do.”
So if you are planning on heading to the hills this winter, make sure you are experienced or with someone who is experienced.
With snow starting to hit the hills as well, make sure you have decent clothing and footwear on.
Don’t let us stop you from hitting the hills this winter, the opposite actually, it’s amazing how much the hills and the countryside changes across the different seasons. We just want you to do it safely. It’s worth reading instructions on the details needs when calling Mountain Rescue.