A MOUNTAIN rescue leader has warned people to ensure they are properly prepared before they go out on the fells following a rise in alarm calls in 2018.

Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, made the call after he reported that mountain rescuers in Cumbria had responded to 654 incidents in 2018 – an increase of 27 on the 627 of the previous year.

He said around 190 of the calls-out were “avoidable” rescues caused by a lack of proper equipment or preparation.


There are 12 mountain rescue teams in Cumbria, including Duddon and Furness, Coniston, Langdale/Ambleside and Wasdale. They are manned by 435 volunteers and funded through donations.

Mr Warren, a member of Wasdale Mountain Rescue, said: “It is concerning that there has been a trend over the last 20 years showing a gradual rise in the number of calls-out we deal with.

“Many of these we have seen are from injuries. And accidents can happen anywhere – on the way to the shops and up a mountain – but there are also a number of avoidable rescues, caused by people heading out up a mountain underprepared.”

He advised people on how to stay safe on a mountain walk, saying: “People need to make sure they have the proper equipment, including a compass, a torch and proper footwear.

“People might go out early in the morning and they will be OK but actually they can end up getting into trouble if they get disorientated at the top of a mountain and can’t find their way down.

“Often we get called out to rescue people who have got split up from their families, especially in bad weather.

“There are also a lot of people who get lost because they rely on smart devices for navigation rather than using a map or a compass.”

He advised people to check whether they could avoid calling the mountain rescue to save them if there was any other way to get off the mountain, such as looking for other walkers, and to check the weather before setting out.