FELL-walkers were today warned to be prepared and pay attention to the wintry weather after two women had to be airlifted to Scarborough Hospital.
They were among a party of six rescued – and a warning has been issued by Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue which took part in the full-scale operation after they became stranded along the 40-mile route of the Lyke Wake Walk.
Ian Hugill, the voluntary organisation’s deputy team leader, said the group had been well- prepared but got into difficulty when two of them became unwell.
They were stranded in Jugger Howe ravine in Fylingdales Moor, south of the Flask Inn, and north of Harwood Dale, near Cloughton, near to the end of their planned route.
He said: “It’s not a criticism of that team – they had done everything correctly.”
But conditions at the time of the rescue ranged from sheet-ice to wet moorland and would have caused delays to the expedition.
He said: “They’d not arrived at Jugger Howe but they called for help on a mobile phone.”
Officers from North Yorkshire Police initially asked the mountain rescue team to help with the search at around 7pm on Sunday (December 18).
Once team members arrived at the scene they immediately began coming the area for the missing party.
Luckily they were spotted by the crew of an RAF helicopter. Mr Hugill said: “The Sea King flew over the missing people It picked all six up and dropped the four that were fit and well at Jugger Howe lay-by and took the two others to hospital.”
He added that, judging by the conditions, they would have been suffering from the effects of the cold and they were lucky to have been found so soon. “If the helicopter had not spotted them it could’ve gone have gone on for hours.”
Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team is a voluntary organisation which costs £20,000 a year to keep operational.
The group – which was aged between 19 and 45-years-old – had left Eller Beck earlier in the day before becoming disorientated in the freezing temperatures.
Emergency services involved in the rescue included police, the ambulance service, RAF and mountain rescue teams.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said that the alarm was raised just before 6.50pm and the group was eventually found in the ravine at 8.30pm.
He added: “Two women aged 41 and 39, both from Worksop, were airlifted to Scarborough General Hospital by the RAF. They were seen by a doctor before being released. The other four people, all from Cheshire, in the group did not require any treatment.”
Lyke Wake Walk factfile:
• it is a 24-hour challenge and is a demanding 40-mile complete crossing of the North York Moors
• the route goes east to west, just north of Osmotherly to Ravenscar, and can be done in either direction – and the preferred route is west to east because of the prevailing westerly winds
• there is no official route between the start and finish and walkers are advised to keep, as far as, possible to the high ground
• organisers also advise parties that there should always be somebody who knows where they are and when they are expected
• it was started by Bill Cowley in 1955
• its name is derived from the Lyke Wake Dirge, a Yorkshire dialect verse, which describes watching wake over a corpse
• the walk’s logo is a coffin which contains the initials LWW.