LAKE District Search and Mountain Rescue Association have said all teams operating in the national park, except Coniston, saw the number of times volunteers responded to calls reduce.

The Cockermouth team responded to the last emergency of the 2019 - a man in his 60s had fallen and broken his arm while descending from Scoat Fell. He was treated at the scene, before being picked up by the Coastguard Rescue helicopter from Caernarfon.

Keswick Mountain Rescue team responded to the first callout of 2020 - an 88-year-old lady was descending towards Latrigg towards Keswick when she started experiencing abdominal pains as well as severe nausea and sickness. Unable to continue her friends requested help from the mountain rescue team.

Keswick were deployed and located her on the path near to Spooney Green Lane.

A team doctor treated her and she was subsequently stretchered down and then transferred by North West Ambulance Service to the Cumberland Infirmary Carlisle.

Last year recorded a 12 percent reduction in the number of callouts for 12 of the teams with 584 callouts compared to the record high 656 in 2018.

A number of factors has contributed to this reduction.

However, the harsh winter of 2018 saw an increase in the number of callouts for all mountain rescue teams in Cumbria.

Unprecedented snow storms and Arctic temperatures brought the worst winter conditions to Cumbria many had ever known in 2018.

Amber weather warnings for snow were in force but little did anyone know the Army would need to be drafted into help deliver emergency supplies to people who were cut off for days.

People in parts of east Cumbria literally had to dig their way out of the snow, as 10ft high snow drifts made roads impassable.

The situation became so severe an RAF Chinook helicopter loaded with Royal Marine Commandos drafted in to help.

It was tasked with airlifting essential supplies of food, fuel and medicine to the residents of Dykeheads, Nenthead.

Bay Search and Rescue volunteers were also deployed to Alston with Haglunds, vehicles which travel on top of the snow, as the struggle intensified.

Meanwhile an army of emergency services, councils, fire crews, ambulance service personnel, mountain rescuers and other groups worked around the clock to keep Cumbria safe and moving.

Nearly a month of winter maintenance was undertaken in a week, with an average of 1,000 tonnes of salt used across the county’s road network between February 27 to March 6 2018.

All of this added extra pressure to our mountain rescue teams in the area explained Richard Warren, press officer for the region and volunteer for Wasdale mountain rescue team.

He said: “2018 was the busiest year on record.

“It was mainly due to the extreme winter we had.

“The Beast from the East hit which caused an extra 50 callouts as well as the winter callouts on the mountains too.”

But the year on year decrease is also down to the continued hard work being done by the teams to make the public aware of the equipment they need when out walking.

A new initiative was launched last year called Adventure Smart UK.

“It’s a handy website that gives the top three messages to keeping people safe,” continued Mr Warren.

“Our messages are always the same.”

Ask yourself three questions before you set off:

nDo I have the right gear?

nDo I know what the weather will be like?

nAm I confident I have the knowledge and skills for the day?

Mr Warren explained: “We always stress that people do not rely on their smartphones - they can be very unreliable.

“You have to be reliant on the mountains.”

Although the year on year number of callouts decreased the percentage of truly unavoidable callouts increased by one percent.

The number of truly unavoidable calls in 2018 was 186 which equated to 28 percent compared to 170 in 2019 which was 29 percent.

Mr Warren added: “We still have this problem of being called to unavoidable callouts.

“If people had the right equipment and followed the advice off the website it would help this problem.

“We always encourage people to enjoy the outdoors but stay safe at the same time.”

Langdale and Ambleside, Keswick and Wasdale are some of the busiest teams in Cumbria.

With the Borrowdale Valley, Blencathra, Latrigg and Skiddaw being the main areas that teams are called to.

“If people do not go to our website and follow the advice they will not be prepared,” continued Mr Warren.

“But if people are not going to go to the website then they must get themselves a map and a compass.

“There are hoardes of people going up without the equipment they need in just shorts and trainers.

“Even in Winter we see people going up the mountains and fells in their shorts and trainers and the difference in temperature can be between five and seven degrees.

“If you get cold and wet it’s difficult to concentrate on getting off the mountain.

“All routes lead to the summit but there are 360 routes back down and people can become disorientated.

“It’s very easy to lose your track when the visibility is poor.”

Mr Warren has stressed that anyone planning to go out walking must take a power-bank, charged phones and make sure that all phones are on different providers if possible.

But don’t worry if you don’t have service in an emergency, when you dial 999 the phone searches for the nearest mast.

“The problem comes when we try to get back in touch with people,” added Mr Warren.

As well as the number of callouts decreasing last year, the number of fatalities decreased.

In 2018 there were 21 fatalities, this number dropped to 17 last year.

Keeping a mountain rescue team running is not a cheap job.

It costs between £50,000 and £90,000 to run each team and this all comes from donations.

Mr Warren explained: “It’s a big commitment. We’re all volunteers.

“You join a mountain rescue team for a long time.

“Most people join the group for 10 or 20 years and some even as long as 40.

“We don’t get paid and don’t want to be paid either.”