5 in 2024
Red Gill, Scafell
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Other Agencies
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We have a ‘tail’ 🐕 to tell with our latest callout.
Cumbria Police alerted us to a report from a concerned family member. A group of two male walkers, plus a dog 🐶 (Dexter) had failed to make contact from an intended walk up Scafell Pike and were overdue.
Due to the weather conditions, and real potential for hypothermia, a full callout was made and additional support gained from Duddon and Furness MRT and the Lake District search dogs. No contact was able to be made by mobile phone, so we did not have any real ‘leads’ as to which areas to search.
Search teams were sent via the normal routes in Wasdale and Eskdale. The team sent to Sty Head were clearly ‘barking’ up the wrong tree and found nothing. Other teams were ’poodling’ around for some time with nothing heard or seen.
However, the search team in Hollow Stones heard a woof and a howl in response to their whistles, and so we finally had a ‘Scooby Doo’. The hunt was on. A light was seen high on the flanks of Scafell, but due to the mist it was very difficult to tell exactly where. ‘Dogged’ determination kept the teams searching in Lord’s Rake, up Black Crag and in Red Gill. Finally a clear line of sight could be made and fortunately the group was thankfully found to be ‘dogfast’ rather than cragfast, on steep ground but manageable with care. Dexter, the 40kg Doberman/Belgian Malinois cross had decided not to move any further on nightfall, despite much encouragement. The walkers were uninjured, cold, and had not wanted to leave their dog on the fell. They were equipped well enough to spend an unplanned night on the fell, and we found that Dexter was trained to bark and howl, thus initially attracting our attention.
Other rescuers ‘harnessed’ the energy to make the hard pull up to their location but no amount of encouragement could make Dexter move downhill. The agreed course of action was to wait for daylight and hope that he regained his confidence to move downhill with better visibility. As such, bivvy shelters were deployed for all, and a long ‘paws’ ensued.
After a ‘woof’ night, as dawn broke, further attempts were made but Dexter stood fast. As hope was fading a last ditch attempt was made with a 50m rope lead and he was gently encouraged downhill 😁. Thankfully once he started moving there were no further problems and a brisk, boisterous and friendly walk with Dexter was then made back to Brackenclose.
The team wearily were ‘recalled’ to base and the vehicles were reset. A friendly team member had kindly played ‘fetch’ with breakfast butties from the local shop. After gratefully consuming these, the team returned home for a ‘lie down’.
We’d like to thank Duddon and Furness MRT and Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs for their rapid response to an initially urgent search.

Incident started at 23:33 and ended at 10:29 making 10.9 hrs in total. There were 13 Wasdale team members involved. Total rescuer hours: 142