THIS week The Westmorland Gazette's Readers to the Rescue campaign topped £20,000, marking the official halfway point of our £40,000 fundraising effort.

Kath Jackson, deputy team leader of Kendal Mountain Rescue said that the whole team was 'really happy' to hear the news.

"That the vision of a new control vehicle is so much closer to reality is down to every single donation, big and small and we’re so grateful," she said "We’re hoping that the challenge that Team Leader Dave Howarth and myself are undertaking over the Kendal Mountain Festival weekend will spur even more readers on to donate."

And although the news has prompted a celebratory mood, this week the team urges readers who enjoy the outdoors to prepare for the clocks going back on October 29.

“Every year there seem to be incidents where the earlier darkness at this time of year comes as a surprise and people get caught out," Kath said. "Prevention is better than cure! When the clocks go back the best thing you can do is to make the most of what daylight hours there are and get up and out early for your day in the hills."

She advised to make sure you know what time the sun is due to set and what the weather is likely to do and plan a route accordingly.

Once out on the hills, keep an eye on the time and the weather and do not hesitate to turn around or shorten your route if you have doubts about completing your original goal safely and in good time.

"That isn’t failure," Kath said. "It's good decision making, far less embarrassing than getting benighted and far better than someone getting injured or worse."

Walkers should always go out with a torch and spare batteries and Kath warned that the flashlight function on a mobile phone will 'not cut it'.

She urged those venturing out in the cold to wear layers of clothing and carry spares, including hat and gloves and an effective waterproof jacket and trousers.

"Consider how you would cope if forced to stop for a prolonged period by an injury or fatigue," she said. "An emergency shelter can be a lifesaver.

"It's often overlooked but some training can really help with improving skills and confidence in the hills whether you are new to it all and learning to use a map and compass or you’re wanting to head out in winter conditions.”

To donate to the Readers to the Rescue campaign please send cheques, made payable to 'Readers to the Rescue', to Sara Royle, 1 Wainwright's Yard, Kendal, Westmorland, LA9 4DP. You can also drop money into the Gazette's office.

You can now donate online, too. Visit

If you have been helped by Kendal Mountain Rescue Team and would like to share your story, please contact Sara Royle on 01539 790260 or email