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)

(19) 8th 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.