A Cumbrian mountain rescue team is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team was set up on February 23 1953 and since then, volunteers have been called out to help people – and animals – in distress around 2,900 times.
A spokesman said: “The majority being individuals who have sustained injuries or become lost on the fells, there have been exceptions including; the flooding in 2009 and 2015, severe snowfall events, downed aircraft, a plethora of cragfast sheep, a raven and on one occasion a horse stuck in a bog!”
Over its lifetime, 250 people have volunteered with the team, with levels of service ranging from a couple of days to 63 years.
Its base was completed in 2003 and officially opened by patrons Eric Robson and Joss Naylor, but has not had a sign since then, To mark the anniversary, a sign has been installed.
The team was created on a Monday evening at the Central Café on Cockermouth’s Main Street.
Rusty Westmorland, George Fisher and Mike Nixon, members of the existing Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, had come to speak to interested mountaineers about the need for a new team that would operate in the western valleys of the Lake District.
Following the meeting, the team – the third in the Lake District – was formed primarily to attend callouts in the Lorton, Buttermere, Ennerdale, Wasdale and Eskdale valleys.
Over time there was year-on-year increases in both visitors and callouts within the Lakes. Today, there are 10 teams in Cumbria covering defined areas, along with the Mine Rescue and Search Dogs, which cover the whole region.
Founding, past and current team members gathered yesterday, February 23, as Eric Robson returned to unveil the new sign, visible from the road and carved from Honister slate, marking the team’s founding in 1953.
Current team leader Andrew McNeil said: “Seventy years is a lifetime and that’s exactly what you get from this team: a lifetime of call-outs, experiences, friendships, laughs and a feeling of being part of something you just don’t want to leave.”