All in a day’s work but it may not be all you assume

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No doubt your first thoughts of the Grassington-based Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Team are of rescues in wild and remote parts of the Dales.

So, how does all this fit in to life in and around the area you may well ask.

Well our patch not only covers Wharfedale, Littondale and parts of Airedale but also Nidderdale out to Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough districts.

Yes you still ask but apart from the wild and remote parts of Nidderdale where are the caves and fells around Harrogate and Ripon?

Well, last year saw the team called out 50 times which was yet another record year and of these, 17 were in your local area.

The team went out to Brimham Rocks four times and Almscliffe Crag twice, the Nidd Gorge and a caver with a suspected broken femur down Goyden Pot in Nidderdale. These are probably what you might expect.

In addition to the more obvious call outs such as walkers, climbers, cavers, fell runners, para gliders, farmers, mountain bikers and so on, in recent times we are called out more and more by the Police to assist in the search for vulnerable people missing from their local community.

These incidents can take us as far out as Ripon and Knaresborough and beyond.

Unusual locations included a stretcher carry at Summerbridge and an injured man near Pannal. Thankfully the year didn’t have any fatalities.

We have some 60 highly trained members of which 13 live in your local area all are volunteers and as such have jobs to go to.

As individuals we are always on call and because we have to trawl the membership each call out to see who is available this means any of the 60 could be out on the fells, down the caving systems and of course in all weathers as such every member has to be trained in every aspect and not just rescue techniques but what to do when we get to the scene.

We don’t receive any formal funding as such and our own survival is dependent on support from the local community and our own fundraising initiatives.

One such initiative was the launch last year of the Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge offering three different walking or running routes across the spectacular scenery of the Dales.

To our delight we had some 419 entrants. It was a great day out for everybody.

The event raised a splendid £8,000 and having already been recognised by the Long Distance Walkers Association, it was very clear that the challenge would become an annual event.

This year it will be on Saturday June 27.

The challenges cover three circular routes from Kettlewell - a 22 mile, a 13.5 mile and a 4.5 mile family route along the valley.

Annual running costs are currently over £40,000.

This doesn’t include one off purchases such as a replacement landrover.

This year will stretch team funds even further with the need to add an extension to our Grassington headquarters.

Details of the Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge can be found on www.uwfra.org.uk/w3p