Jack's Rake 1932 - version 2

"One particular instance that I recall very well, I would be 15 or 16 - I'm not sure whether I'd come up into the senior division then or not, but I was affiliated to St John's. And we were called out one Sunday night. It would be Easter time, a very cold wet night, and we were called out just as it was beginning to go dusk, and we went up to Dungeon Ghyll, and the accident was on Pavey Ark. By the time we got half way up the mountain, it was snowing: it was raining when we left, but it was snowing when we got up there, and it was pretty desperate really, it was really a filthy night. Well we got up to the place where this girl was lying in the crag - perhaps 50 or 60 feet up, and they decided that it would be easier to get down to her from the top rather than climb up to her because of the conditions, and yours truly being a small fellow, and light, they lowered me down on a rope. . .

I. When you say down - from the very top of Pavey Ark?

R. Yes, off Pavey Ark yes. They lowered me down on a rope. The girl had two broken legs, and I put her legs up as best I could in splints. I took these things down with me you see when I went down the crag. I bandaged her up, both her legs, and bandaged them both together to immobilise them as much as possible, and then they lowered me a stretcher down, and I strapped her on to a stretcher, and from there we lowered her down on to the bottom up above the tarn there.

I. It must have been a long way down below - a long stretch below.

R. It was a long stretch.

I. When you say you lowered her down, where were you while the lowering . . . ?

R. I was with her. As the stretcher came down, I was at the foot of the stretcher, trying to hold it off the rock all the time,. . . when they lowered it down from above you see. When we got down onto the bottom - there's a scree right across the tarn there isn't there? And there was quite a number of us - a few mountaineers that were there at the time, were giving a hand. And we were going across the scree; unfortunately, - we never thought about it, the weight was too much, and the scree started to move. Well we managed to keep the stretcher on a fairly even keel, but some of the lads went down with the scree, and one fellow went in to the tarn,; well you can imagine what he was like when we pulled him out of there. It was a bitterly cold winter's night! And this took us - it must have taken us 5 or 6 hours.

I. Because after you'd reached the tarn, how did you get her down below that?

R. Well we carried her down from the tarn, down to New Dungeon Ghyll, and the people that was in there then was called Fothergill, and I always remember Mrs Fothergill saying 'I've got a hot drink ready for you all'. And it was Bovril. Well Bovril I detested! But I'd never tasted anything as wonderful in all my life! You could feel it go down to your toes! You could really. It was so cold. "

From the Ambleside Oral History Group archive