The Edale Mountain Rescue Team

Edale Mountain Rescue Team


One of seven teams within the Peak District, the Edale Mountain Rescue team is one of the busiest Mountain Rescue teams in Britain...

Being experienced in any sporting/leisure pursuit does not grant immunity to accidents.

Activities in the Peak District include walking, climbing, fell running, horse riding, trials biking, hand-gliding, mountain biking and paragliding, and each of these carry their own risk. In the blink of an eye you can find yourself in need of rescue.

One of seven teams within the Peak District, the Edale Mountain Rescue team is one of the busiest Mountain Rescue teams in Britain, and operates largely within the Peak District National Park, as well as rural areas of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

The Peak District’s hills are certainly not as large or dramatic as in other mountainous regions of Britain, but nevertheless the Edale team receive more callouts than most. The higher ground in the Peak District can prove a challenging environment, notably in inclement weather when navigation can prove a major issue. Nearly 1000 incidents required responses in the last decade. Indeed, it took an accident in the Peak District, in 1928, to trigger the chain of events which led to the eventual inception of the Mountain Rescue Committee.

On a cold November in 1928, Edgar Pryor was knocked off the upper stance on the Long Climb at Laddow by a female climber falling down the upper pitch. Pryor plunged about forty feet into an adjacent gully, fracturing his skull and thigh bone. An impromptu and laborious rescue took place, culminating in the creation of a makeshift stretcher.

The nearest place on the road to which the ambulance could be taken involved carrying the man for four hours, using relays of stretcher bearers. And, on reaching the ambulance, Pryor faced a further one and a half hour journey to the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

After reaching the hospital, the consulting surgeon observed the absence of morphine with the transport had done more damage to the limb than the mountain itself, and the stricken patient faced a blood transfusion before he could be operated upon.

The seeds had been sown. The Joint Stretcher Committee came first, in 1932, before it was decided a more permanent and robust structure needed putting in place, and The First Aid Committee of Mountaineering Clubs was born in 1936.

It was an evolutionary process, and by 1950 the First Aid Committee of Mountaineering Clubs had become the Mountain Rescue Committee, a charitable trust with membership from a far wider spectrum of outdoor pursuit groups. Now known as Mountain Rescue England & Wales, the service is now provided around the clock, 365 days a year.

Heroically, the Edale team - as with all UK rescue teams - is made up entirely of volunteers who come from all walks of life and surrender their time freely. One could be rescued by a tax inspector, a salesman, a civil engineer or a blind fitter – all trained to deal with incidents promptly and expertly, and in possession of the requisite Mountain Rescue Casualty Care Certificate. The team currently comprises 51 operational members along with a further dozen aspirant members.

The team receive no central government funding and relies entirely on donations to raise the funds needed to run the team – which is generally in the region of £50,000 per annum. A fairly staggering sum, I’m sure you’d agree, but you can help raise this figure further by donating online with Justgiving (see related links).

Sean Cummins
February 2010

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015