One of the joys of being in the Lake District is the opportunity to take a walk and enjoy the stunning scenery. It might be a low-level route around a lake or valley or a more adventurous hike up one of the fells, such as the Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags or Coniston Old Man.

But there are inherent dangers involved. However experienced a walker you might be, it’s easy to slip and hurt yourself, while the weather can change very quickly, with mist descending and rain squalls obscuring visibility and making navigation difficult.

Last week’s Westmorland Gazette featured four separate reports of people who needed help from mountain rescuers after suffering injuries while walking in the Lake District, and a further two where the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) was called following incidents in the Three Peaks area in Yorkshire.

It’s at times like these we are truly thankful for the efforts of the various mountain rescue teams which operate in our area.

As our feature last week about the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association highlighted, these teams of hardy volunteers deal with year-round incidents often in dangerous and inhospitable conditions.

The efforts of the dozen LDSAMRA teams who cover one of the busiest mountain regions in the country have been recognised with the highest accolade that can be bestowed upon UK community groups, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

It is vital that walkers do all they can to reduce the chances of needing help. That means ensuring they have all the necessary equipment, including physical maps, a compass, proper boots and appropriate clothing and sufficient food and drink. They also need to inform people of their route and then to stick to it.

With nights drawing in and colder weather ahead, the Lake District National Park Authority’s fell top assessors are offering Helvellyn Winter Skills courses, which are a great way for walkers to boost their skills.

Meanwhile we should remember that all the 12 rescue teams are voluntary organisations, which rely solely on the generosity of public donations. If you have the opportunity, then please give generously.