When any of this happens, do you know what to do? If the incident warrants it, dial 999 and ask for Police and then ask for Cave and Mountain Rescue. It might seem more obvious to call for an ambulance but they can't access some locations.
Few people know about the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who provide cave and mountain rescue services. It's the sort of thing you only discover when something goes wrong. Which means that they're an under-appreciated resource who quietly train and help, often in hidden spots in awful weather in the middle of the night. They have a range of skills from first-aid to being expert climbers and cavers, with an intimate knowledge of the local terrain.
So who are they? You'll find one of the most famous and well-respected Cave Rescue Organisations in the village of Clapham. It's thought they were the first such rescue organisation in the world, founded in 1935. Since their early formation they've grown and work above ground as well as below, helping to rescue people from mountains and fells as well as in caves and former mines. By the year 2000 they had attended 1756 incidents, including 605 cave and mine, 569 mountain and fell, 73 climbing, and 354 animal rescues (233 of which were from caves and potholes). During this period, 2654 people aged between 5 months and 87 years were given assistance. Today's Cave Rescue Organisation in Clapham has around 80 volunteers. Police and ambulance authorities regularly call on them for help. They're a voluntary agency so are constantly fundraising for equipment and would appreciate your help.
In the upper Dales, the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team's service covers Swaledale and Wensleydale. They were established in 1968 and now have around 40 volunteers, who are often called out to assist on the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast walk. They'd also appreciate your help with fundraising.
You might expect that volunteers would spend most of their time rescuing cavers from underground or saving walkers stuck on fell tops, but their work is now much broader. Many of their call outs are to support the police in finding missing or vulnerable people, such as those suffering from depression or with dementia. They may be called out to walkers.mountain bikers or even paragliders who have injured themselves in locations that traditional ambulance crews find difficult to reach. Sometimes people and dogs explore the many caves and potholes in the Dales, but without the right knowledge and equipment these can be become hazardous.
Farmers also ask for help from time to time when sheep get stuck on crag ledges or potholes. Terriers also have a habit of wanting to explore caves but then not managing to get out. All of these are rescued by the cave and mountain rescue organisation volunteers.
So let's raise a glass to these hardy and experienced volunteers who perform such an important service, often anonymously and without praise. Or maybe you could donate the cost of a round of drinks at the local pub to one of the rescue services - you never know when you or someone you know might need to call on them.
You can see Guy Carpenter's full photographic blog of SMRT training here