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Trainee Search dog “Kaiya” helps celebrate walking in Eden for English Tourism Week

A trainee search and rescue dog named Kaiya helped launch English Tourism Week (17-25 March 2018) in English Tourism Week Launchthe Eden Valley and North Pennines today (Tuesday 13 March 2018).

Special guests at the launch held at Kirkby Stephen’s Mountain Rescue Base, watched a demonstration of how search and rescue dogs like Kaiya play a vital role with Kirkby Stephen’s Mountain Rescue Team (KSMRT), to rescue walkers who get into difficulties.

The launch was attended by VisitEngland’s Head of Programmes, William Smart and local accommodation providers and transport operators.  The event was organised by Eden District Council’s Tourism Team in association with KSMRT.  Guests had the opportunity to look round the Mountain Rescue Team base and view displays highlighting walking opportunities for visitors and locals.

Walking is one of Eden’s most popular pastimes with visitors and locals.  In Eden you can enjoy both low level and fell walking through the area’s inspiring landscape or trails such as the Coast to Coast walk. 

To promote this important part of Eden’s tourism industry and to encourage people to stay aware of the need to walk safely and responsibly KSMRT base was a fitting location for the day.

KSMRT operates from a purpose-built base and is entirely funded by donations. All its members are unpaid volunteers, willing to respond any time of day, any day of the year, in any weather. There are between 20-30 callouts a year. The 30 or so full members of the team commit to a rigorous programme of training throughout the year, which includes:

  • Casualty care
  • Off-road and ‘blue-light’ driving
  • Radio communications
  • Search management
  • Swift water rescue

Visit England’s England Director, Andrew Stokes, said: “English Tourism Week is all about celebrating the value and quality of tourism in England.  There are many great reasons to explore what’s on your doorstep. From our stunning countryside to our vibrant cities and from our exceptional attractions to our outstanding coastal towns and rich heritage there is so much to experience. The whole industry comes together during English Tourism week to showcase the variety of tourism products across the country engaging locals and encouraging them to be tourists in their own city.”

During the Tourism Week launch at Kirkby Stephen, guests heard from a number of KSMRB team members about their role in encouraging local people and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors safely and responsibly.

Adrian Cottrell, Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team Leader, said: “A whole range of organisations are engaged in helping people to access our hills and countryside and enjoy them. Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team is proud to be one of those organisations, giving anyone venturing into the outdoors the confidence that expert help will be freely provided should it ever be needed. 

“Our volunteers benefit from that safety net whenever they are out in the mountains of the UK.  They are more than willing to give up own time to make access to the outdoors environment available to all. The team actively encourages visitors to the area to be adventurous and to make the most of our stunning landscapes.  But always to prepare by being appropriately equipped and clothed and by developing essential outdoor skills, particularly in navigation.”

When venturing into Eden’s great outdoors people can get most enjoyment by just remembering a few basic but important things. Being safe in our hills and countryside is mainly about being prepared. Be ready for changes in the weather, for instance, and by planning a route that can be done in the time available.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn the skills required, such as navigating with a map and compass, from experienced walkers you may know, through a club, or on courses run by qualified mountain leaders. It is a good idea to leave a record of your intended route with someone who can raise the alarm if you do not return. If you need help in the hills call 999 and ask for the Police and then Mountain Rescue.

The Tourism Week launch marks the start of a number of special events and offers around Eden.  A special competition is being run by Eden District Council’s Tourism Team.  There is the chance to win a range of prizes donated by local tourism businesses.

A series of walks is being offered by Penrith Ramblers in different parts of the district where walkers can join guides to explore some of Eden’s best known walks. The first walk on Sunday 18 March takes place in Askham and surrounding fells.  A further 2 walks on Friday 23 March will take in Dufton Pike and the Pennine Way including High Cup Nick. In addition, Kirkby Stephen and District Walkers are Welcome are running a special access for all Dawdles walk taking in local viaducts near the town on Thursday 22 March.

To register interest in the Kirkby Stephen Dawdles walk on Thursday 22 March email: