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Team members and jeep at Black Sail YH


The Team was formed at a meeting in Armstrong's Cafe (also known as Central Cafe) with local mountaineers and Keswick MRT members on 23rd February 1953.

Amongst the Team's first vehicles were a Jennings brewery lorry and a Willy's Jeep, replaced with a Rolls Royce in 1959!

Rolls Royce and Bedford lorry in 1950's Team garage

The Team's first garage was the old market hall in Fairfield car park, which was then the site of the town's livestock market.

Early Team equipment, lighting and rope

To join the Team "Posession of a pair of boots, a rucksack and a tin of elastoplasts got you in!" The Team raised £50 for a rope, 6 karabiners and 2 lights.

New Team base and Landrovers 1962


A new Team base was built in 1962, mainly by Team members. Bedford ambulances were replaced by the Team's first Land Rovers.

Stretcher carry through a floeded Gatesgarth Farm yard

Carrying and lowering casualty-laden stretchers has always been fundamental to the Team's operations. Here members carry a stretcher through a flooded Gatesgarth Farm yard.

Team accident memorial on Low Crag

In 1969, a tragic accident occurred whilst the Team was undertaking a stretcher lower on Low Crag, Buttermere. Sadly two Team members were killed and others seriously injured.


A rescue on Pillar, Ennerdale for a fallen climber. The first use by the Team of an RAF Wessex Whirlwind helicopter.

Wessex Whirlwind helicopter used for evacuating casualty

Team leader Jim Coyle trained 'Rock', one of the first search dogs in the area. Rescuers with search dogs in the Lakes now have their own organisation Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

Jim training Rock in winter conditions


New advance base opened at Gatesgarth Farm. The farm was usually one of the first places to receive information if an accident had occurred in the Buttermere valley.

Gatesgarth base, Buttermere


The Team starts using pagers to alert Team members of an incident. Very different to the 1950s... "when there was a call-out, a policeman would either walk or ride on his bike to where we lived and tell us we were needed".

An appeal was launched to fund a new HQ in Cockermouth.

Appeal for a new HQ building

During extreme winter weather on the West coast, the Team used their Land Rovers to help rescue and transport casualties.

The Team helped transport the sick and injured for many days when winter snows hit west cumbria


In 2009, extreme weather brings severe flooding to Cockermouth and the Team plays a major role in rescues.

The raging flood waters on Main Street, Cockermouth in 2009
The Team rescues people and animals in the Cockermouth floods 2009. Photo credit Jim Davis, Derwent and Solway

Our new HQ building opens in 2003 with 4 vehicle bays and a crag rescue training area.

The Team acquires a new Land Rover, which is named "Jack's Pride" in honour of one of the Team's founding members, Jack Jackson.

New HQ in Cockermouth opened 2003
A new Team vehicle is named Jack's Pride' in memory of one of the founding members, Jack Jackson


Following the Cockermouth floods, a new inflatable boat is purchased to help support swift water rescue.

A new Mercedes Sprinter vehicle is purchased to help transport Team members and equipment.

Inflatible boat to support swift water rescue operations
New Mercedes Sprinter vehicle for Team member and equipment transport


The Covid-19 pandemic changes our operations with the use of PPE, social distancing and separate Red/Blue teams for resilience.

Annual operating costs have increased from £50 in 1953 to over £100,000 in !

Team with PPE