UK Mountain Rescue

In the UK various organisations provide mountain rescue covering the UK Mountains and remote areas, providing aid and rescue to those who require it in these locations 24 hours a day.

A few are paid but are small and have very limited assets, these include RAF mountain Rescue teams, National Park rangers and RAF and Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter crews.

The Royal Air Force Search and Rescue (SARF) has a primary role to recover RAF personnel but this is rarely required in peacetime so the SARF responds to civilian requests via the local police and emergency services. These callouts number over a thousand in an average year and offer a huge range of different challenges and problems from large scale flooding to lost hill walkers. The RAF operates 6 SARF teams which work with 4 coastguard teams and 2 Royal Navy teams as the Unified National Search and Rescue Service, as well as supporting the voluntary UK mountain rescue teams. The RAF teams ensure that no area in the UK is more than one hour’s flight away in daylight and 90 mins during the hours of darkness.

The bulk of UK mountain rescue is delivered by small voluntary teams of dedicated people funded purely by donations. The mountain rescue teams are made up of local people who are experienced and skilled in navigation, hill walking and climbing as well as first aid.  Those asking to join one of these voluntary teams are carefully assessed to prove that they are experienced and skilled enough so that they can not only operate in extreme conditions but also assist others. Some teams use dogs which have been trained often funded by pet food manufacturers and many outdoor clothing firms either sponsor teams or provide equipment. As these teams are voluntary if you get into trouble on the mountains you have no legal right to rescue and some teams are frustrated by some of the silly situations they have to get people out of including people too frightened by local sheep to move, the common use of mobile phones has lead to the saving of lives but also an increasing number of  inappropriate call outs mountain rescue teams are happy to help those who need it but do urge people to try and be self relent and not to call them out at the first sign of trouble.

In the British Lake district there are 12 voluntary teams with over 450 trained but unpaid volunteers who provide a 24 hours a day  365  days a year service.  The 12 Lake District teams are;

Cockermouth MRT
Coniston MRT
Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit (COMRU)
Duddon & Furness MRT
Kendal MRT
Keswick MRT
Kirby Stephen MRT
Langdale/Ambleside MRT
Patterdale MRT
Penrith MRT
Wasdale MRT

How to Contact Mountain Rescue if you need Help

Remember Mountain rescue teams save many lives each year and rely on donations. They are registered charities so please support them.