Cave Rescue Organisation

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I probably interviewed more than 25 people, organisations and businesses in the course of writing my latest book.

But one I hold close to my heart is the Cave Rescue Organisation.

Based in Clapham and established since the 30s, they rescue people above and below ground in the Yorkshire Dales.

Their work is vital in saving lives and helping those who get into all kinds of difficulty – and animals too.

And it’s amazing that on such an engineered route as the Three Peaks how many people still need rescuing.

Walkers, cyclists, runners – you name it – still get lost on this well-known route.

I interviewed Rae Lonsdale MBE and Steve Finch from the CRO on a cold night at their depot and we spoke about the history of the organisation, what they stand for and what the future holds.

The latter is important as the number of rescues needed below ground are decreasing.

That’s due, in part, to less people caving, amateurs sticking to the ‘safer’ systems and the expertise in a decreasing pool of caving talent being higher.

Of course the CRO still get called out to complicated cave rescues, but rescues on the surface far outweigh those in wet passages.

It’s statistics such as this that make this organisation very important indeed.

Excerpt from Chapter 10 ‘Renew and Regenerate’

If you look at the stats from 2000, there were around 28 mountain rescues in that year compared to approximately 65 in 2009. In fact, from 2009, the number of mountain rescues dramatically increased in comparison to earlier years. Looking at the incident reports, the number of walkers having difficulties on the Three Peaks routes is higher too – placing more pressure on the CRO.

It difficult to pin down the reason for mountain rescues increasing over recent years, but it does seem a fair bet that as more people are taking to the hills more people need to be rescued. I don’t think that is rocket science. Because it isn’t the Lake District, Wales or Scotland, some see the Dales as an easier hit and perhaps underestimate what lies ahead. I’m no expert – but the guys at the CRO are.

Rae said: “If you get into serious trouble on the fells actually calling for help or a rescue can be difficult. If you call 999 and ask for the ambulance, as is suggested by the phone book, that’s what you’ll get. Get into trouble down Quaking Pot on Ingleborough, for example, and the last thing you’ll need is an ambulance. You’ll need a professional cave rescue service.

“If you ask for Cave Rescue when you call 999 they won’t put you though either. You should ask for the police and then Cave Rescue. It also helps if you say what county you are in and have a map.”

For each copy sold I’ll make a donation to the CRO.

You can buy the book here.