A LAKE District mountain rescue team has praised the 'massive effort' to find two walkers in 'appalling' weather conditions.
The voluntary-run Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team said six teams, a rescue dogs unit and an RAF helicopter were all involved in the 16-hour search this week.
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Two men from Merseyside were reported overdue at around 9.40pm on Thursday (August 28) on their way back to Langdale from what LAMRT described as 'an ambitious' walk to England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike.
When the men failed to show, a major rescue operation was launched involving LAMRT, Wasdale MRT, Keswick MRT and search dogs between Thursday and Friday.
A LAMRT spokesperson said: "The initial search took place in appalling weather with strong winds, low clouds and heavy rain and sleet.
"When all search plans had been carried out by 5.30am (on Friday), the search was scaled down with a view to catching a nap, and some food and drink and scaling up.
"The second phased of the search involved additional members from the already participating teams, plus additional ones and Kendal Mountain Rescue Team and Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team.
"The men were located by a dog handler at their car about 1.30pm (on Friday) having found their own way off.
"They were cold, wet and very tired - not unlike most of the searchers! They had spent the night near Green Hole, climbed out over Bowfell at first light and made their way off."
The spokesman said the search involved a total of about 80 personnel for 16 hours and including some 'spectacular flying' by the helicopter crew from Rescue 122 which all contributed to this massive effort."
Seventeen LAMRT team members were involved in the search to comb the central fells area of the Lake District.