2022 Incidents

(Note: incidents given with a number in brackets are officially reportable, while the others relate to standbys, event cover and incidents outside the team area at which team members were present)

(04) 24th April, 2 hours 15mins
A mountain biker had fallen from their bike on Hartley Fell. Initial reports were that he had sustained spinal injuries. Upon arrival, members were able to assess the casualty and administer pain relief for a serious shoulder injury. North West Ambulance Service paramedics were able to make their way on foot to the scene, and after further assessment the Team stretchered the casualty to the road ambulance.  12 members were involved.

(03) 11th February, 1 hour
The team was called to search for two walkers who were lost in poor visibility near Cow Green reservoir, which is on the North-Eastern boundary of our area. After establishing their likely location, the callout was passed to our colleagues at Teesdale and Weardale MRT as their response time would be far quicker to the area.

(2) 23rd January, 1 hour
The team was called to a female with a foot injury on Hartley Fell. She was quickly recovered by 7 team members.

(1) 22nd January, 1 hour
Four team members turned out to assist Penrith MRT with 3 males lost on Cross Fell.

Channel 4 show

A Lake District Farmshop is a four-part Channel 4 series celebrating Tebay Services in Cumbria, Britain’s most scenic motorway services and a uniquely different stopping point on the M6. The four programmes, starting on Saturday 8th July at 8pm, follow key members of staff and the Cumbrian farmers and producers who help to make the services so popular and successful.

Set up in 1972 by local farmers John and Barbara Dunning, Tebay Services was the first and remains part of the only family-run motorway services business in the UK.

With 4.5 million visitors each year, Tebay Services is a lifeline – now more than ever – to the local community that works and trades there.  The family have also been long involved with Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.

The series provides an intimate insight into the rural community of Cumbria and its relationship to the wider world via the M6 motorway. Look out for the Team spending time on the fell with some of the staff from Tebay Services on a challenging rescue exercise.

Harold’s hair rescue

Harold Mason is a brave man. This Saturday morning May 1st, at 9am in Kirkby Stephen Market Square, he is entrusting members of Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team with his first haircut for a year. He is hoping to end up with a simple and elegant No.2 cut, but with our lack of experience in hairdressing – it’s not something often called for during rescues – who knows what will happen?

Harold has raised money for several causes in the past with his haircut adventures and this year he’s decided to take this risk to help the Mountain Rescue Team boost its funds in a period when it has been very difficult to fundraise.

This beautiful hand carved stick could be yours!

Harold is also well known locally as an expert maker of carved walking sticks. He has kindly donated one of his beautiful sticks to support this challenge. The stick will find a new owner amongst all the people who donate during his hair-raising challenge. We’ll pick one lucky person at random from everyone who donates, any amount, either online or in person. To go into the draw when donating online please pick the choice to allow us to contact you by email, or fill in one of the slips we’ll have on Saturday morning.

We’ll keep the option to donate and enter this draw open until May 12th and then we’ll make the draw. Please click the link below to go to our online donation page:

Donate online

2021 Incidents

(Note: incidents given with a number in brackets are officially reportable, while the others relate to standbys, event cover and incidents outside the team area at which team members were present)

(32) 30th December, 5.5 hours
Wasdale MRT asked for help in the search for overdue father and son on Scafell.

(31) 5th December, 1 hour
3 team members went to assist Kendal MRT with a woman on Holmepark Fell with chest pains.

(30) 4th December, 2 hours
11 members of the team assisted motorists in several cars stuck in snow on the Tan Hill road, including a family of 5.

(28) 28th November, 2 hours
Four team members in a team Land Rover went to assist Penrith MRT with a search on Cross Fell.

(19-27 & 29) 27th – 29th November, 30.5 hours
The team manned the base full time during Storm Arwen and its aftermath. 183 person hours were put in by team members and nine incidents attended for motorists trapped in the snow on various of the higher minor roads in the team’s area. The team also collected a patient for necessary treatment from Tan Hill Inn and returned him the following day.

(18) 23rd October, 2.5 hours
11 team members plus 3 from Penrith MRT attended a walker with a medical emergency near Smardale Bridge. The man was extracted by stretcher and Land Rover to the nearest road and handed over to the ambulance service.

(17) 5th October, 3 hours
The Team were asked to assist in the search for a dog seen falling down a steep embankment into the River Clough near Sedbergh. 9 members of the team searched the river and banks for about 1km downstream, plus further downstream at a mill where the river widened and slowed. Sadly, nothing was found. Incredibly, about a week after the search, the dog was spotted by a member of the public approximately 2km further down stream on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the river and was successfully recovered and returned to its owner unharmed.

(16) 29th August, 3 hours
Team called to assist a 40 year old male who had fallen from his off road motorbike injuring his wrist. He was given pain relief, treated at the scene and brought to the Team’s base where he was handed over to an ambulance crew. The incident involved 3 team members.

(15) 29th August, 3 hours
Team called to search for a missing vulnerable 63 year old female near Tebay. Very large potential search area, so assistance was requested from Kendal MRT and the Lakes Search Dogs. Search parties were deployed and the woman was found near Kirkby Stephen shortly after. 16 members, 3 hours.

(14) 29 August, 1.5 hours
Whilst coming off the fell from the previous call-out, a member came across a family in difficulty. A 17 year old female was having trouble making her way off Green Bell. She was assessed, and able to slowly make her way a short distance to a Team Land Rover that had driven up to meet them. 5 members.

(13) 25 August, 2 hours
The team assisted the ambulance service with the treatment and evacuation of a woman with a lower leg injury by the river at Stenkrith, Kirkby Stephen. Six team members were involved.

(12) 15th June, 3 hours
The ambulance service requested assistance with an 18 year old male cross-country runner who had collapsed near Sedbergh. The air ambulance was called by doctors on scene treating him for hyperthermia and, although he was recovering, he was flown to hospital for checks.

(11) 30th May, 2 hours
The team was called to a male walker reported lost coming down from Mickle Fell. 11 members responded but the walker arrived at a road near Brough before the search started.

(10) 22nd May, 4 hours
11 team members assisted Kendal MRT with the treatment and evacuation of a 17 year old DofE participant with a knee injury at Aye Gill Pike.

(9) 16th April, 4 hours
The crag team was asked by a farmer to rescue a sheep in a steep ravine at Hebblethwaite Gill. The team was joined by a group from Kendal MRT. Three members descended to the sheep and put a sling round the sheep so she could be hauled up. She was released safe and well.

(8) 14th April, 2.5 hours
The crag team rigged a rope rescue for a fledgling raven stuck in twine in its nest under an arch of Smardale Gill viaduct. A team member was able to descend under the arch and cross to the nest to cut the bird free. It was later reported flying within the nature reserve.

(7) 29th April, 3 hours
The team assisted Kendal MRT with the treatment and evacuation of a female walker who had a lower leg injury while walking with two friends near Cautley Spout. The casualty was stretchered to the road to meet an ambulance.

(6) 30th March, 3 hrs 15 mins
A male motorist left the scene of an RTC near Orton. Police asked the team for assistance finding him. He was later found at a nearby property. 15 team members responded.

(5) 27th March, 2.5 hours
The team was asked to support Cumbria Police in the search for a motorist missing after a collision on the M6 near Tebay. Several members of the team helped evacuate the casualty from a steep slope to a Coastguard helicopter in the team stretcher.

(4) 9th February, 1.5 hours
9 members of the team responded to a request by North West Ambulance Service for assistance with evacuating a young patient in a field near Kirkby Stephen.

(3) 8th February, 4 hours
The team assisted with vehicles stuck in snow at Tailbridge. 5 team members were involved.

(2) 8th January, 4 hours
A vehicle with 4 occupants was reported stuck in snow on the Tan Hill road on South Stainmore, having driven past a ‘road closed’ sign. Cumbria Fire and Rescue and 4 team members in two Land Rovers attended and were able to dig the vehicle out and return it and the occupants to a driveable road.

(1) 8th January, 4 hours
The team was asked to transport a district nurse to a patient near Tebay after heavy snow in the area. Two team members provided a lift there and back from Shap in a team Land Rover.

Our Summer newsletter is out

Despite the lockdown and ensuing restrictions, the team has had quite a busy few months, as people have been getting out and about again. You can keep up to date on our latest incidents on this website.

We’ve also got a new newsletter for you. It’s got a report on Arthur Littlefair’s 50 years of duty as a team member, including his stints as Team Leader, Training Manager and now Chairman, and of course his major role in the building of our rescue base in Kirkby Stephen. We managed to have an outdoor ceremony to present him and Vivienne with a certificate and some gifts as marks of our and the community’s appreciation.

There’s lots more to read in the newsletter, including a new member’s assessment of the differences and similarities between Mountain Rescue and the RNLI, for which he previously volunteered. Team Leader Adrian Cottrell has some thoughts on managing searches, something we have had to undertake on a large scale several times recently, often with help from other teams, the Coastguard helicopters, and Lake District search dogs. There’s also an update on our resilience project for the base, which is now well under way in spite of the difficulties with Covid-19. And much more besides.

Download the Summer newsletter (PDF):

Lake District teams receive Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team is honoured to be one of the twelve Lake District Mountain Rescue Teams jointly awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. The umbrella organisation of the twelve teams is LDSAMRA (Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association), to which the Award has been made.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on the 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Representatives of the Lake District’s teams will receive the award from Mrs. Claire Hensman, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, later this summer. Two volunteers from the group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

“This award is an incredible recognition of the huge amount of work and commitment put into mountain rescue by the current 400 volunteers within the twelve teams and by all members from our 70 years’ history”, said LDSAMRA Chairman, Richard Warren. “We are all truly humbled by the nomination and look forward to the recognition it brings. Thank you to everyone who has supported our Teams over the years.”

Read our new newsletter

Although things have been quiet for the team lately, that may be about to change. A lot of thought and preparation has been going on behind the scenes so that we can deal with incidents safely.

In the meantime here’s an opportunity to learn a bit more about the team and its members. Our new four page newsletter is available here to read on your computer or tablet. We’ve got a report from the gruelling Spine Challenger race which two of our members took part in, profiles of members both new and old, what it’s like to be a ‘dogsbody’ and the viewpoint of a paramedic who has worked with us. There’s also some excellent advice on how to prepare for your outdoor adventures (especially important in these days when rescuing will almost certainly take a bit longer).

We hope you enjoy it.

Download newsletter (PDF):

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.

2020 Incidents

(Note: incidents given with a number in brackets are officially reportable, while the others relate to standbys, event cover and incidents outside the team area at which team members were present)

(21) 29th October, 4.5 hours
A couple walking near High Cup Nick called for help after getting lost late in the afternoon. Their phone position was identified about 1km from High Cup Nick. 4 team members were despatched to find them and accompany them down. They were taken in a team Land Rover to their car in Dufton.

(20) 27th October, 2.5 hours
Penrith MRT requested assistance for a possible extraction of two male walkers with hypothermia on Cross Fell. 12 KSMRT members responded. The casualties were extracted by helicopter, one taken to hospital and one brought to the team’s RV point. He was taken by a team member to Penrith.

(19) 7th October, 4 hours
Members of the crag and swift water teams rescued a sheepdog from the deep cut at Hell Gill. While locating the dog in the gill they also found a stranded sheep and descended again to rescue it as well. Both dog and sheep are well.

(18) 7th/8th September, 15 hours
The team was asked to assist Swaledale MRT in the search for an 80 year old hiker missing between Tan Hill and Gunnerside. 10 members of the team searched two areas on the 7th September and 2 members reported to assist again on the 8th September, with 2 more about to turn up when the missing man was located safe and well.

(17) 14th August, 2 hours
The team assisted the ambulance service with the extraction from the river bank of a motorcyclist at Straight Bridge near Sedbergh.

(16) 24th July, 2 hours
The team responded to assist the ambulance service with a man in his 70s with breathing difficulties near Smadalegill Viaduct. The man and his friend were transported in a team Land Rover and the patient was transferred to an ambulance at the road. The air ambulance also attended.

(15) 21st July, 4 hours
13 members of the team responded to a mountain biker who had slipped and cut her leg on the Pennine Way path near High Cup Nick. She was treated and stretchered to a team Land Rover to be driven down towards Dufton. Her husband was able to take her on to hospital for treatment.

(14) 11th/12th July, 3 hours
Immediately after the earlier callout the team responded to a man with a suspected heart attack on High Pike. After assessing his condition a Coastguard helicopter was called, this time from Humberside. The helicopter was able to land nearby and the patient was transferred and taken to James Cook Hospital. Kendal and Penrith MRTs also responded with their Autopulse cardiac resuscitation equipment.

(13) 11th July, 3 hours
The team responded to a request by the ambulance service to help with the evacuation of a woman who had fallen off a quad bike near Adamthwaite. A Coastguard helicopter was called from Caernarfon, the team loaded her on a stretcher and she was winched to the helicopter. She was taken to Preston Hospital.

(12) 24/25th June, 12 hours
Members of the team searched through the night for a walker in his 70s who had not returned to his car at Rawthey Bridge, along with a Coastguard helicopter. Team members from Penrith MRT and Kendal MRT and Lake District Search Dogs took over in the morning. Sadly the walker was found deceased near the waterfalls at Uldale.

(11) 12th June, 2 hours
The team assisted an ambulance crew evacuating a local person from Tebay who had injured her ankle on a public footpath near her home.

(10) 28th May, 2 hours
8 members of the team assisted an ambulance crew with an unwell man some 500m from the road near Tebay. The patient was transferred to a GNAA air ambulance.

(9) 15th March, 3 hours
The team was called to search for a missing person on the Tommy Road near Ravenstonedale. The person was located and treated for cardiac arrest before evacuation by helicopter.

(8) 13th March, 2 hours
Seven members of the team responded to a request for assistance by Kendal MRT to help evacuate a female walker near Sedbergh with an ankle injury. She was stretchered off the hill and handed over to an NWAS ambulance.

(7) 22nd February, 5 hours
While covering a fell race from Dufton to High Cup Nick the team assisted a runner with an ankle injury and helped treat a 60 year old male runner for diabetes/hypothermia.

(6) 19th February, 2 hours
The team was called to a female walker in her 20s lost in poor visibility on Nine Standards. 8 team members responded. Two Land Rovers were able to drive on a shooters track to near her location and she was taken to her car in Kirkby Stephen.

(5) 15th February, 30 mins
NWAS asked the team to help an ambulance with a patient stuck in flood water near Great Musgrave. 2 Swift Water Technicians from the team responded along with a team of six from Penrith MRT. The ambulance crew were able to extricate themselves and were guided by phone onto a safer route.

(4) 14th February, 1.5 hours
The team was asked by Penrith MRT to assist in the search for a missing person near Langwathby. 7 team members responded but were stood down en route.

(3) 21st January, 30 mins
The team was asked by NWAS to assist with a 16 year old female with a leg injury near Sedbergh. 10 members responded with one nearby going to the casualty site direct. The ambulance crew were able to evacuate the casualty and team was stood down.

(2) 20th January, 1 hour
The team was asked by NWAS to help with a patient in a remote location. One member attended but the team was stood down as the ambulance crew were able to extract the patient unaided.

(1) 15th January, 6 hours
Five members responded to a request for assistance by Penrith MRT who were called to a fell runner on the Montane Spine Race stuck on a ledge at High Cup Nick. She was recovered into the valley and taken to the race control at Dufton.