Mountain rescue teams have urged day trippers to properly plan their walks after an “absolutely chaotic” Christmas period and warnings of blizzards on the way.
A Lake District rescue group said there were 11 calls during Christmas week, including one involving 75 people looking for a man and his 11-year-old son. on Scafell Pike.
Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, said his teams were called a record 680 times in 2021 and the start of 2022 was “just as busy”.
Volunteers gear up for a potentially busy few weeks as people venture outside as part of a health boost for the New Year.
A cold storm, however, could derail those New Year’s resolutions. The Met Office has put a yellow weather warning in place for the Lake District this Friday, with blizzard conditions and snow showers forecast.
Snow is expected to fall over other high areas of the UK towards the end of the week, and there will be cold temperatures and heavy downpours.
In the Peak District, heavy snow showers are expected on Friday, followed by high winds on the weekends.
Warren said there had been two calls on Christmas Day in the Lake District, and there was a “very sad end to the year” when a man died after a medical episode in Skiddaw in the evening New Year’s Eve.
Volunteers urged people to check the weather forecast and find out if they have the right equipment before heading out to the mountains. “A lot of rescues are preventable because people get lost without a map, compass or torch,” Warren said. “Really, we want people to start thinking about what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and checking the weather. “
Colin Price, duty team leader for the Edale Mountain Rescue Team in the Peak District, said the start of 2022 had already been “very busy” and he expected a large number of visitors return during the year.
The pandemic led to a record 155 calls in 2020, he said, with last year being the second busiest on record. “We’re getting bigger numbers in the national park and you can see it on a normal weekend – it’s more like a holiday weekend,” he said.
Price said he welcomed the “larger mix” of people visiting the Peak District, but that some day trippers lacked the experience or equipment to walk over sometimes dangerous terrain.
“The Peak District is there for everyone, but maybe we have people who don’t know it as well or who don’t have as much experience, and that attracts a few people,” he said. declared.
He advised bringing headlamps, extra food and warm clothes for winter walks, as well as a compass and map for longer walks.
In Snowdonia National Park, volunteers were called a record 237 times last year, including 147 during the warmer months between June and September.
Barry Davies, president of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, said it was essential for people to respect the environment and be careful even when walking on well-traveled paths.
“We had four fatalities last year on Snowdon so the mountain can be a risky environment,” he said. “The incidents vary from lost and lonely to people seriously injured as a result of a simple fall.”