In the mid-1960s the Lyke Wake Walk was becoming increasingly popular but a growing number of people were getting lost or suffering injuries whilst attempting the 42-mile walk. The National Park Wardens were having to deal with these problems and as a result they decided to form two Rescue Teams (two were needed due to the vast area of the moors). Cleveland Search & Rescue Team, as we were originally called, was formed to cover the northern area, with Scarborough & Ryedale Search & Rescue Team covering the southern area.
Since those days, when we relied on Team members’ Land Rovers for transport and borrowed and begged equipment, we have evolved to be amongst the best equipped and most highly trained mountain rescue teams in the country.
In 2012 in line with most of the other upland rescue teams in the country we renamed ourselves Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team.
Since our foundation in 1965 we have been called out roughly 2,000 times. In the early years most of our incidents were searches, often linked to the Lyke Wake Walk. Rescue work was the smaller part of our role - such as walkers suffering injuries.
In the last twenty years or so, the popularity of country walking and running has increased and so, along with the increased use of mountain bikes and paragliders etc. we now deal with a range of more serious injuries. The ratio of searches to rescues has changed accordingly so that these days only about one-third of our call-outs are searches. The number of lost or overdue walkers has tended to reduce; most searches will involve us looking for vulnerable people, particularly those suffering from depression or dementia.
We have also become much more 'water aware' and are trained and equipped to work in flood situations such as at York in December 2015.
One thing hasn’t changed since the Team was formed: it is still made up of people from all walks of life who are experienced hill-goers and who are willing to drop whatever they are doing 24-hours a day, 365-days a year to go to the help of those lost or injured. Just as in 1965 we are still all unpaid volunteers.