Walkers warned about heading into Peak District

Police are warning would-be walkers to "seriously consider" their actions before heading into the Peaks this weekend, after three men from north Manchester drove to Hayfield last weekend to walk in the hills. 

The trio, who were all from different households, were fined £200 each for being in a group of more than two, in breach of the lockdown regulations.

Derbyshire Police say "multiple tickets" were handed out last weekend to people breaching lockdown rules, but even those sticking to the regulations around exercise are "putting themselves, and others, at serious risk". 

Since then, the county has seen significant snowfall and extremely low temperatures, which is set to continue this weekend.

And the force is warning that the Peak District, while close to many major cities, is "an area that needs to be taken seriously and where it is easy to get into trouble". 

Inspector Dave Parker, who leads the policing team in the High Peak, said: “During the very best weather the Peak District is a challenging environment. But with the weather we have had this week, it becomes a potentially lethal place.

“Those travelling from lower-lying areas may start off in relatively mild conditions, but by the time they reach the Peaks, the weather can be very different.

“That weather can also change very quickly while out in the hills, and cause even experienced walkers issues which means others have to put themselves in potentially dangerous situations in order to come to your aid.

“Just last weekend in the Lake District we saw one of two men who were camping above the Kirkstone Pass fall ill.

“One of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team volunteers (https://bit.ly/3rRlh0h) fell 500ft and had to be airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. Our thoughts are with the injured team member, their family, friends and colleagues." 

He went on: “The current lockdown period does allow for people to travel for exercise and, while nobody heads out with the intention of getting into difficulty, the more people out on the hills means the likelihood of someone getting into trouble will only increase.

“Any member of the emergency services, volunteer or otherwise, have friends and family waiting at home – and your choices could mean that they may not return to them.

“I would urge everyone to firstly follow the guidance which asks everyone to stay at home as much as possible. If you are exercising only do it with your household or support bubble – or one other person who is not in either of these – and try and stay local to your home.

“Anyone who is coming to the Peaks should be well prepared for almost any weather and come with a map and compass (and be able to use them) as well as a first-aid kit and other emergency essentials.”

Main image:

Snow in the Peak District. Credit: Derbyshire Constabulary. 

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