A GRATEFUL family has praised the ‘incredible’ volunteers who rescued them from a Lakes fell in their hour of need.

When James and Mikaela Miller set off from their home in Preston to scale Coniston Old Man they never expected a team of mountain rescue volunteers would be guiding them back down the fell.

The couple had made the 60-mile trip with James’ mum and the couple’s two children in the hope of conquering the iconic walk by mid-afternoon.

However, after taking a ‘shortcut’ on the way back down – coupled with deteriorating weather conditions – the family lost track of where they were.

READ MORE: Family rescued descending Coniston Old Man

“Everything went absolutely fine on the way up,” Mr Miller, a 41-year-old service manager, said.

“We were following another group of experienced walkers to the top.

“We had a table back at the Swan Hotel for 3.15pm and it was already 1.15pm so we thought we’d go a quicker way down.

“We set off and soon realised we had gone in the wrong direction. We were doing a bit of traversing from side to side and arrived at a massive cliff drop.

“The visibility was less than five metres at that point.

“It got to the point where we couldn’t tell what was in front of us anymore so I called 999 and went through the process of giving them What3Words.

“They told me we were in a bad location and said they were going to come and get us. We sat there for a while thirsty and cold. Luckily I had a blanket in my bag to keep the girls warm.”

The family waited on the peak for around an hour and a half before they heard the first ‘hello’ from a Coniston Mountain Rescue Team volunteer.

“Everybody got this second wind straight away,” Mr Miller said.

“Six of the volunteers were there with jackets and chocolate bars and were just really nice.

“They started guiding us back down which was a real eyeopener as we were only 150 metres or so away from a huge pit.

“They said we had made the right decision to call them. We met a few more volunteers on our way down and everyone was just fantastic with us. We all walked down together – it was really well planned out by them.

“The leader, Janice, asked if we would like a brew back at the base and we had a few biscuits and coffee.

“We were expecting a telling off but it never came.”

Mr Miller said he was ‘blown away’ by the response of the rescue service – and is urging anyone else to contact them if they need help on the fells.

He said: “We were blown away by the service and the fact they’re all volunteers is amazing. We even got a phone call the next day from Janice asking how if we were okay after the ordeal.

“She said if we ever wanted to come back, she would take us up the peak and make sure we got up and down safely. We couldn’t believe it – everyone was just fantastic. We feel really grateful to them.

“We encourage anyone who feels unsafe or needs some help on the fells to call them.”

The family is planning on delivering a ‘thank you’ hamper to the Coniston MRT for their help and support.