123 in 2023
Upper Eskdale
Other Agencies
In the second call of the evening, two walkers were seeking assistance having got lost trying to return to Borrowdale after an ascent of Scafell Pike. Mobile signal was very borderline and all attempts of further conversation proved impossible. However, fortunately they were able to give Cumbria Police their ‘Lat/Long’ coordinates that they had obtained from a mobile phone. It was decided to send two small groups in case they were still moving. It was also not known whether they were adequately equipped for the heavy rain forecasted during the night. Unfortunately for us, this location is one of the most remote on our ‘patch’ (and possibly the whole of the Lake District) so this required long walks in by small groups from both Wasdale and Eskdale.
Shortly after setting off, the Eskdale team came across another group of misplaced walkers, unfortunately they were not the group they were looking for. They were 3-peakers who were now likely going to miss their goal with a long walk out to the wrong valley. Eventually the Wasdale group found the casualty party of walkers (as it turned out, three!) in roughly the location expected. The walkers were then escorted back to Wasdale and then to base for the subsequent long and expensive taxi journey.
Both parties were not adequately equipped in terms of navigation equipment or skills. Misty conditions do make navigation challenging, and especially so, high on the Scafell Massif. Fortunately on this occasion the only consequences were time, effort, discomfort, missed objectives, cost for taxis, and some damaged pride. However, the risks to safety are very real, both in terms of hypothermia (yes, even in August if there is poor weather) and crag fast or fall risk if walkers stray into the wrong areas. Please share to raise awareness, as many walkers we encounter do still underestimate the difficulty of navigating in mist and/or darkness.

Incident started at 20:37 and ended at 04:43 making 8.1 hrs in total. There were 8 Wasdale team members involved and the incident occured at NY230073. Total rescuer hours: 65