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Visit by Icelandic Search and Rescue Youth Team July 2006

Eight youth team members accompanied by two leaders from Isafjordur Search and Rescue Team in Iceland visited the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team for a ten day exchange visit.

Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team (TWSMRT) are, as far as we know, unique in the UK in having a youth section of the Search and Rescue Team; Icelandic teams on the other hand have youth sections in almost 50% of their teams. The project, funded by North Pennines LEADER+ is aimed at learning and sharing ideas and techniques between Teams, and giving young people a cultural exchange experience between groups with similar aims.

The programme of events during the visit was quite intensive and allowed the 12 Youth Team members of the TWSMRT to work closely with their Icelandic partners.

The programme included a presentation at the TWSMRT Base in Barnard Castle; Patterdale and Keswick MRTs were also visited to show the broad spectrum of mountain rescue in the UK - thanks must go to both those Teams.
Many Icelandic SAR Teams include sea rescue as part of their remit. The visiting Team were very interested in visiting the RNLI - Hartlepool and Sunderland stations very kindly hosted the group for a day - the high point being a trip out in the Hartlepool boat.
Four days were spent in the Lake District and the group went on several long mountain walks including Scafell Pike and the Helvellyn horseshoe - the heat was quite intense and was a real shock for the Icelanders who had been experiencing a period of 3 months of rain with a top temperature of 16 degrees! Other activities included rock climbing and abseiling, and swimming in the lakes and rivers.
He programme ended with a BBQ and the exchange of Team badges and pictures.

The members of the Teesdale and Weardale SAR Youth Team are now looking forward to making the return trip to Iceland in July 2007 - already plans have been made for the programme which will include an expedition onto a glacier, whale watching, and of course bathing in hot springs!

The Youth Team are now looking for new members - they must be 16+ and have an interest in the work of mountain search and rescue and outdoor activities. They should contact Chris Roberts - Youth Team Leader either via the youth section of the website or by writing to The Rescue Centre, Bede Kirk, Barnard Castle DL12 8DJ

Notes For Editor
Teesdale & Weardale Search & Mountain Rescue Team are affiliated to the Mountain Rescue England and Wales. We provide a Search and Rescue service throughout County Durham and beyond primarily for the Police but also for the other emergency services. All Team members are volunteers and we rely on monies raised by ourselves as a registered charity to run the Team. Further details regarding our latest callouts and Team information can be found on our website