‘STICK within your limits’ was the message coming from the Lake District’s mountain rescue teams as lockdown regulations continued to ease.

The plea from rescuers was initially to ‘stay off the high fells’ even after movement restrictions were loosened by the government.

But Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA), said the advice had now ‘moved away’ from that.

“If people are going to go on the fells they really need to start thinking about preparation and taking the right equipment,” he said.

“At the weekend or Friday there was a small dusting of snow on Scafell Pike and we are in the middle of summer.

“All mountain rescuers are unpaid volunteers and we are having to go out there in pretty horrible conditions to rescue people, many of whom haven’t thought about what they are letting themselves in for; and mountain rescuers run the risk of catching the virus.”

Nick Owen, team leader at Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team (LAMRT), said: “If you’re an experienced walker who can navigate, assess the weather, you have got the right kit - I wouldn’t say the high fells are out of bounds.”

Callout numbers since lockdown began remain low - registering an 83 per cent drop on the same period in 2019 at the latest update from LDSAMRA.

However, Mr Owen reminded people not to become complacent.

He warned that rescues at the moment would probably take longer than usual with team members having to wear cumbersome personal protective equipment (PPE) and as few people as possible being mobilised for callouts ‘to limit exposure of team members to the risk of Covid-19’.

“Reduce the chance of getting rescued as much as possible,” he said.

“Stick within your own limits.

"Don’t be tempted to push yourself and expose yourself to more danger because a rescue would be complicated.”

Mountain rescuers advise people to ask themselves three questions before they set off on a walk:

- Do I have the correct equipment?

- Do I know what the weather will be like?

- Do I have the knowledge and skills for the day?

Visit www.adventuresmart.uk for more information about staying safe on the fells.