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WORLD-RENOWNED mountain climber and writer Bill Birkett has handed over £2,500 raised by Lakelovers guests to help save lives on the fells.

The money was raised by visitors who have stayed at Lakelovers homes across the Lake District and was given to the Lake District Mountain Search and Rescue Dogs (LDMRSDA) on behalf of Lakelovers, last night (Thursday).

The presentation took place at our new Lakelovers’ office in Keswick, where we will continue to provide dog friendly cottages in the Lake District, and was attended by the Mayor of Keswick Councillor David Burn.

The event marked the official opening of our Station Street office, which we were spurred on to open due to demand for visitors wanting to stay in Keswick Cottages.

The money raised by our wonderful guests, means that LDMRSDA will be able to ensure its handlers have appropriate First Aid and medical equipment to deal with the casualties they find, and environments they find themselves in.

Graham Wilkinson, Lakelovers Keswick Business Development Manager, who will oversee the Keswick Cottages, said: “We raise money every year for a local charity and we thought that the LDMRSDA was a fantastic cause to support”.

“We have 60,000 guests staying in our 450-plus cottages every year and while we care greatly about their happiness and comfort during their stay with us, we also want them to be in safe hands while they are exploring the area.”

“The volunteers and the dogs at the LDMRSDA do a very difficult but amazing job and as many of our guests enjoy the great outdoors on their visit, it’s great to know that this brilliant charity and their dedicated volunteers are there to help should an excursion on the fells go wrong.”

Bill Birkett, whose life-long love affair with the hills has seen him pen books, including his best –selling Complete Lakeland Fells, said: “I think it’s tremendous that Lakelovers are raising money for our wonderful voluntary Search Dog Mountain Rescue Team.

“Let’s not forget that the Lakeland Fells can present an extremely challenging environment and it’s very reassuring to think that should an incident occur, whether it be in the middle of the night or in the grip of a winter blizzard, the superbly well trained dogs of LDMRSDA are on standby to help out”.

Martin Bell, of LDMRSDA, said: “This very generous donation will assist us greatly in upgrading our kit to be of the greatest value to our casualties”.

He added: “We are really pleased to have such a well-known local company, with a strong reputation, supporting its local search dogs. It makes our name and cause known a long way outside our home patch, bringing in funding from people who would not necessarily know of our existence. This is something we are very grateful for”.

We have the largest collection of ‘VisitEngland Gold Award’ holiday cottages in the region, with cottages in Keswick and many dog friendly cottages in the Lake District too.

Pudding Cottage was recently judged as one of the top 20 best holiday cottages in the country, and awarded the ‘VisitEngland Rose Award’.

If you would like to stay in one of our Lake District dog friendly cottages, have a look at them here:

Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs Association


Who are the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs

 They are a specialist team dedicated to the training, developing and deploying of Search Dogs within the Lake District Mountains and Fells to search for missing people.

All Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dog Handlers are all operational members of Mountain Rescue Teams within the Lake District – as all must already be competent in first aid and survival in a mountainous environment.

Handlers choose to train a search dog to assist their own Mountain Rescue teams and other teams within the Lake District Region.

The dogs are specifically trained over two years. They learn to use their scent to track people and then return to the handler to indicate they have found someone by barking, before returning back to the casualty.

They are trained to search in darkness and bad weather. They are put through their paces in a variety of weather conditions before being placed on callout lists.

If a casualty is unconscious or unresponsive, the dogs may be the only certain way of locating the casualty.


How they have helped save lives this year

They have been called out 27 times since January this year and have helped many people lost on the fells and get them to safety.

A 62-year-old woman was found by search dog Isla on April 30 after it was reported she had suffered a leg injury. Isla found the woman on the side of Sour Milk Ghyll. The woman was then taken to a waiting ambulance by the mountain rescue team.

And then, on two consecutive days in May, search dogs helped search for lost people on the fells.

On May 8, 2016, search dogs Isla, Rona and Ginny went to help search for an 84-year-old man, who had last been seen in Rosthwaite. The mountain rescue team and the dogs searched the areas and paths near the last location he was seen and he was then found by police.

On May 9 Dottie helped in the search for two people reported lost in Kershope Forest – and one of them with a leg injury. Dottie was deployed to cover tracks and forest with the mountain rescue team. The people were found.

So, we are so pleased at Lakelovers that the money raised by our generous customers will help the work of the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

We enjoy supporting local charities and this has been a very good cause to have supported this year because the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs is an entirely voluntary organisation and rely solely on the generosity of public donations.

And, it’s great to know that guests at our Lakelovers’ holiday homes are in safe hands if they are out and about walking on the fells in the Lake District.