We were made aware of a scout group of consisting 8 children and 2 adults who had got into difficulty near the Priest Hole, Patterdale. This is not our area, but in contacting Patterdale MRT to make them aware, our assistance was requested. Eleven team members and Paddy (dog) went to assist. The group had been attempting to reach the Priest Hole to camp there, but had been overwhelmed by severe weather. We found a group of very cold children, some without footwear. The weather was variable, ranging from still moonlight to force 8 winds and driving snow, but generally deteriorating. A helicopter had been requested, but was having extreme difficulty in getting to the location because of the weather. The group were located, and as soon as the helicopter was able to land, were loaded into it. The helicopter was at its limit of performance, and was only able to get nine party members on board, so one remaining party member and the helicopter winchman were escorted from the hill on foot. All were reunited at Patterdale MRT base. The wisdom of taking a group of children out in these conditions, at night, does have to be questioned. The weather was should have been no surprise. The Met Office had been issuing weather warnings for the previous 36 hours. If the helicopter hadn't managed to evacuate so many of the group at the first attempt, then the rescue would have been considerably more complicated. It is worth noting two 'firsts' during this rescue. One: our Land Rover overtook a Porsche (OK, so the Porsche was sliding backwards down Kirkstone Pass on the snow at the time), and two: a number of team members managed to walk uphill faster than the helicopter (it was having great difficulty making progress into the wind in very poor visibility). A helicopter returned the next day to recover the group’s gear that we had had to abandon.
Unique Incident ID