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Cannabis smoking walkers get too high on England’s highest mountain – sparking major rescue

Scafell Pike

Members of Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team were dispatched to Burnmoor Tarn on Saturday help a group of walkers after one of their members became unable to return to the valley taking cannabis.

Cumbria Police received a 999 call at approx 6:30pm on Sat 23 September after the group of four people ran into difficulty on Scafell Pike.

The group of men, who were from the Manchester area were believed to be aged in their 20s.

The Wasdale team were called out late Saturday afternoon for the start of an extremely busy and exhausting 19 hours supported by Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue team, ending late Sunday morning.

Officers from Cumbria Police liaise with Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team who were successfully able to locate the group and brought them safely off the mountain at 9:45pm.

Wasdale MRT spokesman, Richard Warren said: “The four callouts that followed on Scafell Pike and Scafell were totally avoidable, one being further complicated as it involved drugs and alcohol. Taking alcohol or another substance that could impair your judgement significantly increases risk of getting into trouble. It has no place on a mountain.”

Superintendent Justin Bibby said: “Never underestimate the mountains and always be prepared before setting out, health and safety is your responsibility, carry the right equipment and food and know how to use it, our priority is your safety.

“Wasdale MRT had a particularly busy day dealing with this and other incidents, they are volunteers, they do an amazing job and are always there to assist those that get into difficulty.”

Richard Warren added: “These avoidable rescues are down to inadequate preparation and planning and no real understanding of the difficulty of keeping safe in poor weather conditions. This coupled with limited or no navigational skills in bad weather and poor visibility and having totally inadequate clothing for a day or night out on the mountains spells disaster. Torches, map and compass, wind and waterproof clothing and some understanding of how to use makes a day out on the mountains safer and more enjoyable.

“Our tremendous thanks goes out to an experienced Mountain Leader who was on Scafell Pike at the time of the callout. He, along with the group he was leading, assisted the Wasdale team in finding and safely walking down two walkers who set off at 7.30 p.m. and were lost in the mist near the summit of Scafell Pike. This help allowed the team to concentrate on two other rescues that were taking place at that same time. This support from fellow mountaineers and walkers demonstrates the duty of care that everyone has to help others in need of help.

“Inability to self rescue and thoughtless behaviour as demonstrated over the weekend puts mountain rescue teams under extreme pressure maintaining the voluntary service to our communities and those visiting Cumbria.”