Double Rescue for Hapless (and Mapless) Family

A family of walkers has been keeping Lake District Mountain Rescue Teams busy over the weekend, needing assistance on two successive days at the cost of many hours of volunteer's time and one injured team member.

The Coast to Coast path - it's down there somewhere. Really, it's not that hard to follow., 128 kb
The Coast to Coast path - it's down there somewhere. Really, it's not that hard to follow.
© Dan Bailey

Members from three rescue teams turned out on Friday 31 August when a 73-year-old man and his 50-year-old daughter were reported overdue at 10pm, having failed to turn up at their accommodation near Keswick while walking the Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale stage of the Coast to Coast route. Cockermouth MRT, Keswick MRT and search dogs started a search in the Honister to Loft Beck Ennerdale area. Meanwhile the two turned up safe and well (but off-route) at Gatesgarth, Buttermere. They were given a lift to Borrowdale.

Unfortunately one rescuer suffered a broken leg during Friday's search operation, reports the BBC.

Lessons learned? Seemingly not. The next night the party were at it again. Yes, you read that right. On Saturday 1 September Langdale MRT were called to assist the very same group, who'd now been joined by a second daughter and had again been reported overdue at their next accommodation on the route in Grasmere.

Cockermouth Team leader Mike Park told the BBC:

'After dealing with these people on Friday we thought they would have learned their lesson and perhaps not continue with their planned walk, especially as the elderly man had sustained an ankle injury.'

'But unfortunately we got a call at 10.30pm on Saturday to say they had not turned up at their next accommodation in Grasmere.'

Langdale MRT this time led the search, with help from Lakes Search Dogs and Keswick MRT. They were located quite quickly, again off-route - this time in Wythburn.

According to the team incident report the Dad had sustained a lower leg injury.

'There might have been slightly more sympathy for the group if this wasn't the second injury' continues the report, 'the first having been sustained the previous day, and subsequently ignored while taking the decision to continue.'

The party were taken to the Langdale MRT base in Ambleside, where the man was examined by paramedics who subsequently took him to hospital for further examination.

'It was expressed in the strongest possible terms that we didn't feel that this party should make any attempts to continue their route, being neither equipped, fit enough, nor capable of making the sensible decisions required' the report continues, in an unusually strident tone.

'Only time will tell if they decided to follow this advice. It is rare for team members to become angry or frustrated with our casualties, but this was one of those occasions. A number of team members removed themselves from the room, because they could no longer listen to the list of excuses for their situation. Things they did wrong: Setting off on the day with an obvious injury that was not going to repair itself; using a guidebook to navigate rather than maps (and blaming the descriptions in the books for their errors); and having only one torch in a party of three (one more than the previous day!).'

'Mountain rescue teams to the east... beware!'

This is the second slightly odd Coast to Coast rescue story that we've reported in under a month. Whatever next?

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