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Rescue dog saves couple who got lost down Scafell Pike gully on New Year's Day

Isla the rescue dog, Keswick Mountain Rescue
Isla the rescue dog was praised for her 'excellent and impressive find'. (Keswick Mountain Rescue)

A pair of walkers who got lost on their way down England’s tallest mountain may not have been found without the help of a quick witted rescue dog.

The couple lost their way descending Scafell Pike on New Year’s Day and called 999 at around 5.30pm after one of them suffered a panic attack.

Keswick Mountain Rescue said the climbers and their dog started from Seathwaite and scaled the Lake District mountain “in good time”.

However, they “got a bit confused” as they made their way down, and after ending up in the valley of Wasdale they tried to correct their mistake by climbing back out.

They got lost again near Sty Head Pass in the process and ended up straying from a pathway, a spokesman for the rescue team said.

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Keswick Mountain Rescue NYD 2023
Isla bolted off the pathway and found the couple stuck down a steep gully. (Keswick Mountain Rescue)

Despite having proper clothing and head torches, the pair called for mountain rescue as one of them started having a panic attack on the steep ground.

Rescuers said finding the pair would have been “doubtful” without their rescue dog, named Isla, who found the walkers in a “steep-sided gully away from the paths”.

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The team wasn’t having that much luck, and decided to split up and search different pathways when the dog followed her instincts and bolted off down the gully.

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Keswick Mountain Rescue NYD 2023
Rescuers said finding the pair would have been 'doubtful' without Isla's help. (Keswick Mountain Rescue)

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"We gave chase only to find Isla barking as she had successfully located the couple, an excellent and impressive find,” the spokesman added.

In total, the team of nine team members spent nearly four hours looking for the couple, who were walked back to Seathwaite after they were found.

It was the unit’s second rescue of the year, having been called out just 44 minutes into 2023 to rescue two women near Great Gable, one of whom broke her ankle in the wind and snow.

The two hikers had considered the weather forecast but later decided to turn back as conditions worsened.