Lost walkers, injured bikers and stranded motorists: Mountain rescue team experiences busiest year ever

A mountain rescue team that covers South Yorkshire and the Peak District has experienced the busiest 12 months in its 52-year history.

Sunday, 6th January 2019, 11:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 11:47 am

The Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team responded to a record 57 incidents in 2018, ranging from lost walkers and injured mountain bikers to vulnerable missing people and stranded motorists when the UK was hit by the Beast From The East storms.

The team is made up of 45 volunteers from all walks of life who attend training sessions every week to maintain their skills '“ in addition, members also go to fundraising events to help raise the £30,000 per year needed to operate the emergency service.

The Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team was relied upon heavily when the 'Beast From The East' snowstorms hit in 2018.

In total, during 2018, rescuers volunteered 6,403 hours of their time.

'One incident that stood out in 2018 was a report of injured walkers taking part in their Duke of Edinburgh Award training,' said team officer Steve Cullabine. 'The callout came on the Easter weekend at 7:00pm as darkness was falling. Along with Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team, members located the injured party and due to the remote location and the freezing snowy conditions, a request for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter to attend was made.

'Due to low cloud the helicopter tried for some hours to reach us, in the meantime we needed to plan for in the event, the helicopter could not reach us, a call for extra manpower was made and shortly they joined us to help with the extremely long and physically demanding stretcher carry.

'Thankfully, around 2:00am after refuelling, the helicopter managed to touch down thanks to the expert piloting of the captain and the casualties were airlifted to hospital.'

Mountain rescuers carrying a casualty on a stretcher.

Meanwhile, last February the team rescued a lorry driver from his stranded truck after he endured a freezing night on the Woodhead Pass between Sheffield and Manchester. He got stuck close to the summit of the pass near the turn-off to Dunford Bridge.

The work of rescue teams is no longer confined to mountainous regions. The police and ambulance service call on members' expertise to help search for missing people in urban areas, and deal with casualties in remote and dangerous locations.

'We couldn't do without the fantastic support and donations from the local community and businesses,' said Steve. 'We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has dug deep and spent valuable time raising money and supporting us through 2018 '“ without you, we simply wouldn't exist.'

Team members carrying a casualty on a stretcher to the coastguard helicopter.
Mountain rescue teams are often called upon to help road ambulance crews attend to injured people.