FIFTY years ago, falling or getting lost while hiking across the Peak National Park may well have proved disastrous.
In 1964, after a series of fatalities high in the Derbyshire uplands, the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation was established.
There are now seven mountain rescue teams working in the Peak District.
Each team has 40 to 50 volunteers on standby, ready to respond to any incident in any weather in some of the most remote landscapes in England.
Six Search and rescue dogs work alongside the rescue teams to help locate missing or injured walkers and climbers.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the rescue service today, a two-year-old Welsh Border Collie, named KT, led an exercise to find three ‘missing’ walkers lost in gale force winds on Kinder Plateau.
Kinder Mountain Rescue Team’s newest canine recruit is still in training and is still probably a year away from becoming fully qualified.
Her handler, Ian Burley, said: “She’s showing lots of potential. She’s very keen.
“She’s already passed the first stage of her training and has another three assessments to pass before she can help us on real call-outs.
“She’s a ‘free-range-scenting dog’ and is learning to identify and locate the smell of any humans.
“It’s important we go ahead of the rest of the rescue team so their smells don’t throw the dog off the scent of the victims.
“She found all three of the ‘casualties’ and guided me to them, well before the rest of the team arrived.
“Air scenting is very wind dependent - but it’s not unheard of to get a strike from 500 metres” said Ian.
For her efforts, KT was rewarded with a squeaky toy to play with before 25 search and rescue volunteers coordinated a rescue that included one ‘victim’ being carried off the hillside on a stretcher.