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Mountain rescue teams help more motorists than climbers

The Big Freeze has seen mountain rescue teams pick up more drivers than climbers.

The Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team responded to 12 separate incidents over an 11-day period, including New Year's Day.

The majority of these rescues related to stranded drivers, instead of hillwalkers.

Now the teams are urging motorists to heed the weather warnings.

"The majority of the people we rescued were not mountaineers, but drivers who were caught in difficult driving conditions," said Ann Fitzpatrick of the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team.

She said that gardai had called upon them for assistance because tow trucks and recovery vehicles could not reach those affected. However, she stressed that they do not recover vehicles or tow them.

She said that the incidents were "vehicle incidents" which occurred in the mountains.

"Normally our type of work is assisting people injured or lost in the mountains," she said.


The number of call-outs has been high, averaging at over one a day during the period in question, she said.

Two separate drivers were rescued on the Military Road which leads to the Sallygap on one evening alone last week, with the incidents happening just two hours apart.

With road conditions worsening, the two Land Rovers which were dealing with the second incident could not get to the driver's exact location.

Team members had to make the rest of the journey -- a couple of hundred metres -- on foot to reach the stranded driver.

Mountain rescue asked drivers to heed the weather warnings and exercise caution.