The snowy weather that swept the country at the weekend gave rise to a hectic weekend for the team.
The team were on a 3 day training weekend at Crowden, near Glossop, when the snowfall started. After a late night training exercise on Friday night, training on the Saturday morning was interrupted when the team were called out to join other Peak District mountain rescue teams to search for a missing father and his two children, who were believed to be lost somewhere on Bleaklow. Bleaklow is the second highest area of the Peak and a difficult region to navigate, especially under the conditions. As the team was being deployed, they were stood down as the missing party was located.
The team returned to their training schedule before being interrupted shortly after lunchtime to go to the aid of a driver who had been involved in a road accident and was suffering from breathing difficulties, but could not be reached by regular ambulance. A party from Glossop mountain rescue had also been tasked with attending, but as they were already involved in other incidents, a Derby vehicle was sent as well. Derby were stood down when a Glossop 4x4 vehicle managed to reach the scene first.
The major callout of the weekend occurred after an emergency call was received on Saturday evening. It was reported that a 74 year old man, out walking for the day, had become lost and benighted near to the centre of Bleaklow. He was found by two fell runners who had been on the hill practicing their night navigation. They alerted the emergency services and stayed with the man until rescuers could reach them. Derby, along with Glossop, Woodhead and Edale mountain rescue teams, supported by search dogs from various teams, launched a major operation to rescue the party, who it was believed could all be in a poor condition due to the weather conditions and the amount of time they had been on the hill. The party were located close to midnight, where it was found that the lost walker was suffering from hypothermia and required a stretcher evacuation, but that the two fell runners were able to be walked off the hill.
As no helicopters could fly in the conditions, the casualty had to be sledged and carried off in a 3 hour evacuation, crossing snow drifts that were waist high in places. The situation was complicated further when one member of the rescue party suffered a knee injury after a fall in a snow drift and also had to be stretchered off the hill. Luckily, there were more than 60 rescuers on the hill at times and therefore, were able manage two extended stretcher evacuations simultaneously, despite the extreme conditions.
By 4:30am, the exhausted Derby team were all back at their accommodation after a long and difficult day. Training the following day was cancelled, allowing the team members to return home early. However, shortly after members had returned, the team were called out again. This time to rescue a sheep that had been stuck on a ledge at Stanton Moor, near Bakewell. The sheep had been stuck on the ledge for some time, unable to make it’s own way off the ledge and a crag rescue rope system was set up to enable rescuers to reach the sheep, who was recovered uninjured.
A team spokesman said: “The team has definitely proved it’s worth this weekend, along with all our colleagues in the other Peak District mountain rescue teams. We’re really pleased to have seen positive outcomes in all of the incidents we’ve been involved with and it’s been good to see how well all the different teams are able to work together seamlessly to carry out some really difficult rescues.”
Derby Mountain Rescue Team is a charitable company (1089237) limited by guarantee.
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Registered Office: Peak Management Associates Ltd, Compton Offices, King Edward Street, Ashbourne,
Derbyshire DE6 1BX.
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