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 Pete Mounsey “Cleveland Search and Rescue (CSR)‟.

Peter joined CSR in the late 70s, & lives at Great Ayton, which is where the base office of CSR is located. He is a retired physics teacher from a Billingham school, with more than 30 years experience.


There are over 50 S&R groups in England, in all upland and mountainous regions, with other groups in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  The S&R groups originated from civilian needs and RAF rescue requirements post WW2.  Cleveland Search & Rescue (CSR) was formed in the mid sixties to help people in our region using just basic gear and whistles. It is totally staffed by volunteers, on call every day, day and night, in all weathers.


The southern part of the North York Moors (NYM) is covered by Scarborough and Ryedale S&R; the northern half by CSR.  The NYM comprise many open spaces, some desolate and barren locations, together with river & cliff areas and national routes such as the  Lyke Wake Walk and Cleveland Way.  Extensive use of the NYM is made by walkers, horse riders, mountain bike riders, canoeists & climbers.  The CSR is supported by National Park Wardens with whom there are informal but good working relations.


Volunteers undergo training every Wednesday & five weekends per year.  The CSR is now a very professional group, with 50 men and women from all walks of life, working closely with paramedics & training with ambulance crews.   Top of the range equipment is used, for example Land Rovers, which are very versatile & good workhorses but cost £40,000 each. The CSR is well equipped with medical and life-saving gear, with designated volunteers authorized to administer drugs such as morphine.  Most volunteers buy their own gear.


CSR communication is now most commonly by mobile telephone but signal loss is still a problem. To contact the CSR dial 999 & ask for Police, it then takes only 3 to 4 minutes to page all 50 members & assemble a team. Back-up from the Air ambulance or RAF Bulmer is available if required.  Initial planning & investigations are carried out by the Team Leader. Very experienced rescue teams of 4 or 5 carry out ”Corridor” searches, ie path plus 10m either side.


Search dogs may be used, working into the wind to follow scents, but there are only 30 in England. When a casualty is located a first aider conducts initial assessment and treatment, the casualty is then packaged, provided with pain relief or oxygen, if necessary, & carried to an ambulance.   Some casualties can walk out, others, if lost, can be guided back to safety.


In 2009 there were 38 incidents, mostly in the northern half of NYM: in 2010 there were 44, mostly in central NYM. In 2011 there have been 10 so far.   There has been a notable increase in high speed injuries from mountain bikes.  Often it is relatives who report missing persons to the CSR, some 4 to 5 per year of these are “despondents”. Locating casualties is a problem, the use of grid references is rare, a few use GPS, most say “I‟m at….”, but are often wrong.  Rescue teams support each other, eg CSR helped York S&R look for Claudia Lawrence.


The talk was illustrated with local examples:- a boy who fell off Sutton Bank Cliff &

broke a leg; a London family trapped in a car covered by snow near Danby; a German student who fell 15‟ from Roseberry Topping (among the rescuers was a German orthopaedic surgeon!)

The CSR needs funding of £27,000 pa, voluntary contributions are essential from tins, sponsored walks, donations, grants etc.  Peter left copies of the CSR Annual Report for 2008

A vote of thanks was proposed by Don Spenceley.