‘We could have been looking for two bodies today’: Two unprepared Manchester walkers lost in blizzard on Scafell Pike rescued

Two unprepared fell walkers from Manchester had to be rescued after getting lost on England’s highest mountain during a blizzard.

Mountain rescuers spent eight hours looking for the men on Scafell Pike in the Lake District – and warned if they hadn’t been found it’s likely they would have died.

The men, who had no waterproof clothing, no compass and no torch, were eventually brought to safety in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Richard Warren, chair of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, was part of the rescue team.

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He urged fell walkers to prepare properly after the Lake District’s 12 mountain rescue teams saw a record number of call-outs in 2021.

Mr Warren said: “The two lads from Manchester hadn’t done the preparation. They hadn’t got the right clothing, they had no waterproofs.

“It was blizzard conditions. They had no compass, no torches. They weren’t even sure where they had parked their car.

“They were very grateful that we found them, but it was very lucky that we did. We had great difficulty contacting them on their mobile phone.

“If we hadn’t found them they would have had to spend the night on the hill in sub-zero blizzard conditions and then it would have been a very serious, life-threatening situation.

Mountain rescuers said the two men could have died if they hadn’t been found

“But we did what we always do and got them warm, put some waterproof clothing on them and took them back to the road where they got a taxi back to their car in Keswick.”

Earlier Mr Warren told the BBC if the lads hadn’t been found ‘I think we’d have been looking for two bodies today’.

In 2021 Lake District’s mountain rescue teams, which all manned by volunteers and rely on donations from the public, were called out a record 680 times.

MA dozen mountain rescue volunteers spent eight hours searching for the men in blizzard conditions

Over the seven days of Christmas the teams were called out 21 times, including twice on Christmas Day, while in the first four days days of this year there were another 19 call-outs.

Mr Warren said lockdown has meant many inexperienced walkers are coming to the lakes for the first time and taking to the fells without proper gear or knowledge.

The huge increase in call-outs was putting the rescue teams under ‘huge strain’, he added, and urged walkers to prepare properly.

He said: “We are trying to get the message out about the importance of preparation.

“We want people to think about the risks they are taking.

“And don’t rely on smart technology, because it will let you down, especially in cold weather.”

To make a donation to the Lake District mountain rescue teams click here.

The LDSMRA is also urging tourists to visit the Adventure Smart UK website before visiting the Lakes.

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