Mountain Safety

Hostels have a long tradition of coming to the rescue. Once upon a time they were the refuge for those at the end of a long day’s hike, or even a dry alternative when the camp site got too wet and muddy.

We still welcome last minute bookings and walk-ins but here at Elterwater we are more expert than most when it comes to rescue. Our manager Nick is the leader of the local mountain rescue team, Langdale Ambleside, and at the time of writing they have so far attended 115 rescues in 2017.

Other areas in the Lake District are reporting growing numbers of call-outs, too, so earlier this month a meeting was called to look at ways to address the problem, with representatives of the police, the National Park Authority and the National Trust.

Our manager Nick has some thoughts on this from his considerable experience. He says:

A proportion of these incidents (none injured) are avoidable with some preparation and thought. Check the weather, make sure you can navigate (there are NO signposts on the hills) and aren’t solely reliant on Google maps (or similar) on your phone, get a FULL set of waterproofs and some warm clothing. None of these things need to be expensive if you’re starting out. Ambleside is well known as the outdoor kit mecca! You can get everything you need to climb Everest here, so kit to climb Bowfell in a safe and enjoyable manner is an easy task.

Key things:

  • Dark means dark… not orange street light dark, but pitch black, can’t-see-the-ground dark
  • A kilometre uphill over rough ground is about 5 times harder than a flat kilometre in a town
  • Downhill can be just as hard as uphill!
  • The people you meet up there may have no better idea of where they are than you
  • Have a safe and enjoyable experience and turn back if things get difficult… the hills have been here for about 10,000 years, so will be here next spring if you have to change your plans