Incident 23 of 2024:-
30/04/24, 00.41, Dunnerdale Area
In the very small hours of the morning, we were called by Cumbria Police about 3 mountain bikers who were riding from St Bees Head to Coniston but had not turned up at their accommodation. One of their friends had phoned 999. Although we had a Garmin link previously supplied by one of the cyclists, showing their intended route, it was not clear how far along they had cycled from their last known location in Eskdale. All three mobile phones went straight to voicemail, and no Phonefind link had been responded to. After discussion with our neighbouring Teams (Duddon & Furness, and Wasdale MRT), and also CUMPOL, they agreed with us that it would be more sensible to wait for daylight to start a visual search. The advantage of this was the fact that if they had simply decided, for whatever reason, to bunker down for the night, then at first light they may set off and get a signal after which they could respond to the many messages they would have received, and we could close the log. If indeed one had had an accident, then we felt that one of the gentlemen would have cycled to a mobile signal point and phoned the emergency services. It was also a relatively warm night and they had fleeces and waterproofs, so the expectation was that they were sheltering hopefully in a barn somewhere. So the Team was stood down for the remaining hours until the incident was revisited by the Team Leader at 7.30am.
Shortly after 8am, she received a phone call from one of the wives who advised that all three cyclists were safe and well and on their way to civilisation. After she communicated with one of the actual party, it transpired that they had some technical issues with the bike/s, which hindered their progress, and then encountered access problems along the route. They decided to take refuge in a barn late that evening, but due to loss of signal, were unable to contact anyone. In the morning, they were able to use a land line at one of the local houses and let everyone know they were safe and well. Best outcome!
3 volunteer members attended for 2 hours 45 mins (if you ignore the sleepless hours between returning to bed and resuming the logistics of the possible search).