Mountain rescue fees
Unlike in many nations around the world, mountain rescue services are free in Britain. This goes back partly to its early years, when casualties were recovered in an ad hoc manner. The rescue might involve members of the casualty’s party, nearby mountaineers, police or skilled locals. After the Second World War a number of incidents tested growing informal arrangements to the limit and civilian Mountain Rescue teams were formed. The organisation began with mountaineers looking out for mountaineers and reflects the ethos of the community: self-reliance and responsible engagement with risk.
It’s not uncommon for criticism to be made of walkers who get into difficulty and for claims of irresponsibility to be made. But this isn’t always fair. Testing our limits is how we learn and how we progress. Risk is unavoidable in the mountains – it’s arguably an essential part of the reason we venture there, and teams are often supportive of people who have slightly overstepped their ability or simply had bad luck. Callout fees have been suggested but are resisted in the main because they could act as a deterrent to those who would baulk at the cost; potentially increasing the number of casualties and fatalities in the mountains.
In the UK, teams are voluntary and raise their own funds. Find out more at www.mountain.rescue.org.uk