At 11:30 am on January 6, 2013 the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team (DWMRT) went to the aid of a walker with head and neck injuries sustained in a fall in Glendalough. This would mark the beginning of what would be the busiest year on record for the team.
The 40-man team, who also mobilised to aid in a major search operation in Mayo last year, carried out over 100 operations in 2013.
Heavy snowfalls in the early part of the year saw high levels of people become stuck in heavy snow and icy conditions on the high passes in the hills and the Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap became regular call-out spots for the team.
One such winter’s day saw the team respond to three separate call-outs within a five-hour period. These incidents involved calls for two injured walkers on Camaderry Mountain, two stranded coaches with over 80 people on board and finally two missing mountain bikers. These unusual weather conditions would see the team kept busy with snow and ice related work right up until the beginning of April.
The July heatwave attracted high numbers of people to the Wicklow Mountains to hike, bike and climb. This kept the team busy during the summer months with rescues involving suspected spinal injuries from a mountain bike accident, a walker with a fractured upper arm on Djouce mountain and two technical rescues involving visitors from abroad in the Glendalough area.
Chris England, team leader of DWMRT, said the busy year had put greater strain on their “already limited financial resources”.
“The very limited Government support has forced our team members, busy with rescues, to be busy with fundraising as well. In this regard I would like to thank all our supporters and sponsors for their invaluable support throughout the year.
“For 2014 we look to continue to provide a professional mountain rescue service in a year which will see us celebrate out 30th anniversary and one where we hope to find a team base — a base where we can train our members, store our equipment and call a home.”