Police issue Lake District warning after rescuer falls 150 metres

Visitors urged to stay away after man sustains life-changing injuries trying to reach hikers

Police have urged visitors to stay away from the Lake District after a mountain rescuer fell 150 metres and sustained “life-changing injuries” while coming to the aid of two hikers.

Rescuers were called to help two men who had travelled more than 100 miles in contravention of coronavirus regulations to camp overnight on a 780-metre (2,500ft) fell in near-freezing conditions. The hikers, who were from the Leicester area and the Liverpool area, requested help after one of them experienced chest pains on Saturday morning.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue said an experienced member of its team slipped and fell 150 metres (490 feet), sustaining spinal injuries and facial fractures while making his way to the pair. The 60-year-old man, who has not been named, was airlifted to the Royal Preston hospital where he remained in a serious but stable condition on Monday.

Mike Blakey, the operational lead for the Lake District’s mountain rescue teams, said: “I cannot stress enough the message to stay at home during lockdown. This rescue, and the subsequent life-changing injuries incurred by our team member, were avoidable.”


The rescue took place in “atrocious” conditions, Blakey said, with 18 volunteers battling a severe wind chill to get to the hikers, who were camping on the Red Screes fell between the villages of Patterdale and Ambleside.

Andrew Slattery, assistant chief constable of Cumbria constabulary, said the two hikers were issued with £200 fines “which is the only legal penalty available in these circumstances”, despite them making round trips of nearly 600 miles (965km) during a national lockdown.

He said: “We would appeal to everyone to stay at home as much as possible, exercise locally, and stay well within the limits of their own experience and equipment when exercising in the outdoors.

“It is vital that anybody venturing on to the fells in winter takes note of the weather forecasts and mountain conditions before setting off. Now is not a time to be taking unnecessary risks as our ambulance service and hospitals are still under extreme pressure from high numbers of Covid patients.”

Police and mountain rescuers have repeatedly urged visitors to stay away from the Lake District after the first lockdown resulted in huge numbers of people being drawn to its picturesque hills last year.


Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Mountain rescuer who fell helping lockdown breakers may never walk again
Chris Lewis sustained spinal injuries when called out to help people camping in Lake District in breach of lockdown

Helen Pidd North of England editor

16, Feb, 2021 @1:21 PM

Article image
Warning over rising number of deaths among Lake District walkers
Cumbria mountain rescue and police say ramblers may push themselves too hard, as incidents on the fells increase

Frances Perraudin

01, Apr, 2016 @5:07 PM

Article image
Stay away from Lake District despite easing of lockdown, police say
Public urged to ‘take long hard look at your conscience’ after PM relaxes travel rules in England

Helen Pidd North of England editor

11, May, 2020 @11:46 AM

Article image
Hiker dies trying to find Lake District cave made popular by BBC show
Fifty-year-old fell near Priest’s Hole in Glenridding, which has seen increase in visitors since featuring on Secret Britain

Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

17, Oct, 2016 @2:14 PM

Article image
‘It’s fantastic to see’: Lake District warms to its new ‘trendy’ status
People from younger and more diverse demographics are exploring area amid boom in nature trips

Mark Brown North of England correspondent

03, Dec, 2021 @12:27 PM

Article image
Jet suit paramedic takes Lake District test flight
Inventor Richard Browning puts potentially life-saving suit through its paces in ‘groundbreaking exercise’

Nazia Parveen North of England correspondent

29, Sep, 2020 @2:23 PM

Article image
Coronavirus lockdown in Lake District 'fraying at the edges'
Risk of second wave in north-west as government source says towns could face specific lockdowns

Helen Pidd, Rowena Mason and Severin Carrell

05, May, 2020 @6:12 AM

Article image
Officials deal with more than 200 people wild camping in Lake District
Police and national park staff catch people breaking coronavirus lockdown rules

Helen Pidd North of England editor

28, Jun, 2020 @1:44 PM

Article image
Lake District mountain rescue warning after ‘chaotic’ festive period
Volunteers urge people to check forecasts and equipment after a record-breaking year for callouts

Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

04, Jan, 2022 @1:31 PM

Article image
Lake District zip-wire plans abandoned after protests
Campaigners had opposed £1.8m activity hub in Thirlmere, saying it would ruin the landscape

Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

21, Feb, 2018 @9:13 AM