This summer, the North West has experienced devastating moor fires both in Saddleworth and on Winter Hill. It was all hands-on deck to help the fire service put out these monstrous fires and a lot of that help came from Mountain Rescue

Mountain Rescue is a national service made up of 55 teams across England and Wales and is run entirely by volunteers who know the land in their local areas extremely well.

Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue provides 365-day mountain search and rescue service for both the rural and urban districts of Lancashire.

“The Bolton team assisted with the Winter Hill fire for more than two weeks and the fires were so extensive the Bowland volunteers were also drafted in so the fire could be tackled,” says Philip O’Brien, incident controller at Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team.

The teams also ensured that the fire service had enough food and water supplies, as well as advising anyone from going up onto the moors during this dangerous time.

Thankfully, it’s not often the Mountain Rescue service is pulled out to this level. Entirely run by volunteers, most of the team have full time jobs.

“Excellent mapping skills are essential if you want to volunteer,” says Phil. “As well as a passion for outdoor pursuits or climbing, knowledge of the hills, moors and local geography. We have a dedicated team from all walks of life aged 18-70 and are all trained in first aid and casualty care.”

Phil explains that Mountain Rescue don’t just cover mountains and the charity has an intelligent tracking service to can help find people who need assistance.

“Before you head out on a walk or hike, make sure that you tell someone if you’re going alone, a map and compass just in case and a mobile phone that is fully charged. It’s a great device to have with you for mapping during your hike or climb.”

“If you get lost or injured, call the Police and ask for Mountain Rescue. Your mobile telephone number will be sent to us and we send you a text message which can help find your location.”

The last few years has seen a considerable increase in the number of requests by Lancashire Police and the North West Ambulance Service for assistance in non-mountain or open country environments and the team has been called out 40 times this year so far. These requests have included searching for elderly, confused or potentially suicidal people missing from their home or place of residence, or searching snow-bound roads for stranded motorists.

The team regularly gives talks on first aid and mountain safety to schools, scout and other youth groups, rambling groups and relies on donations to carry on their work.


For the next event search: ‘Cross Morecambe Bay Walk fundraiser on 2nd September’ on Facebook

Rescue Headquarters
Smelt Mill Cottages
Trough Road, Dunsop Bridge
Clitheroe BB7 3BH

To donate: www.justgiving.com/bowland-penninemrt



Tedd Walmsley

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