Covid-19: Mountain Rescue teams urge restraint

Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) has reported that across the country teams received a total of 20 call outs over the Easter weekend. This was much quieter than usual and many incidents were not hill-related. However there is some concern that newly reported police guidelines might encourage hill walkers to travel much further than before to exercise.

Cumbria Police and local Mountain Rescue teams are asking people to not travel long distances to walk in the Lake District and on other Cumbrian fells, however attractive the idea may seem.

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team has not received a single callout since the start of lockdown. The team is practicing strict protection measures in its base and vehicles and has cancelled all face-to-face training and meetings. This means that the team is ready to respond but of course any rescue will involve close interaction not just with a casualty but also with each other. Walkers are urged to stay well within their capabilities and to not venture into remote areas.

For those who are planning a ‘mini-adventure’ the AdventureSmart initiative supported by Mountain Rescue teams provides some excellent guidelines, with the focus on gear, skills and weather. These are the key areas where a bit of forethought and preparation can avoid the ‘avoidable’ mistakes that may lead to a callout.

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team still asks anyone who gets into difficulty to not hesitate in calling for assistance. An earlier call allows time to plan for a staged response, with sections of the team working in isolated ‘pods’. Mountain Rescue should be requested by calling 999, asking for Police then Mountain Rescue, and giving your location and other incident details.

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