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  Applications are currently closed and will re-open on 1st September for the next intake.

Applying to join Teesdale & Weardale Search & Mountain Rescue Team (Hill Team)

Please take time to read and consider the information below before you apply.
The Team has around 45 volunteers who freely give up their time to train to a high standard. This enables the Team to attend callouts day or night, in difficult terrain and in all weathers in order to search for and locate missing persons and to treat casualties.
To be able to operate to this level we expect Team Members to attend a range of training which covers medical, crag, search, rescue, navigation, radio communications, equipment, vehicles and more besides.
Our regular training sessions for fully trained Team members are usually every other Wednesday night and one Sunday a month. Additional training is laid on for new recruits.
We can't emphasize enough how much commitment you need to give especially in your first year to achieve the standard required so please do carefully consider if you have the time available to commit to joining the Team.

Essential Qualities we are looking for:

Personal - You live within the borders of County Durham
Are 18 years of age or older and have your own transport
Have the support of your family, partner/spouse and employer to enable you to attend callouts, training, fundraising and other Team activities
You are willing to complete a DBS check and supply references where required.

Skills - You are a competent hill walker able to look after yourself in all weathers on the high Pennines day or night. You have a good understanding of navigation, being able to use a map and compass, give bearings, measure distance on a map and on the ground 'pacing', supply an accurate 6 or 8 figure grid reference number and have an understanding of GPS.

Fitness - You have good general health and are able to walk over rough terrain for a number of hours not only carrying your personal hill kit but additional Team kit including carrying a casualty on a stretcher

Attitude - You are able to work as part of a team in challenging conditions, have a 'can do' attitude and, are able to follow instructions. You will have an understanding that some situations can be stressful and that you will need to be able to remain calm at all times as well as recognising your own limitations

Basic IT skills - You are able to record information electronically, respond to emails, view documents on line and use map apps on a phone

Attend callouts - You should be available and prepared to attend callouts during the week and at weekends. We understand that you may not always be able to leave other commitments to attend callouts, however, if for example, you cannot attend when at work, then we would expect that you attend callouts on an evening and during the night. This is the reason for the Team's existence!

Time and Commitment- Please take time to consider whether you have the time to commit:
In your training year you need to attend at least 70% of training that is offered, which is likely to exceed 20 Wednesday evenings and 14 full days. During this time, at the end of every 3 months your attendance and performance will be reviewed, in the event you don't make the requirements you will most likely be asked to leave the Team.
Once you qualify as a hill team member the training requirements are reduced but you will still need to maintain a good number of training sessions and callouts.

Application Process and Timetable

We accept new applications via the Team website during the application window.

You will then be emailed and asked to complete a walking route we have planned and record and return information from the route. We will also send you an online navigation test. The information from the walking route and your answers to the online navigation test will need to be returned to us by the date specified (see table below).

An internal review of application forms and navigation tests then follows. We will then notify you if you have been successful enabling you to move on to the next stage where you will be an invited to our opening evening at our base in Durham. This is your chance to get to know us, see our base and equipment, ask us any questions you might have and decide if joining the Team is right for you. If you want to proceed further with your application you will be asked to attend a Hill Test.

The Hill Test will be on the fells of County Durham (Teesdale/Weardale). The Hill Test will assess your hill fitness and navigation skills. This is also your chance to demonstrate you are a team player, have a can do attitude, and will fit in with the Team. The Hill Test normally takes about 4 hours.

Your performance on the Hill Test will be discussed by senior Team members and you may then be invited to a short interview where the final decision will be made as to whether to allow you to become a Trainee Team Member.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to provide additional feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

At the end of the probationary period a final assessment is undertaken to test skills and knowledge before trainees can become a full Hill Team members.

Key dates timetable for 2024/25

1st September 2024Online applications open
31st October 2024Online applications close
7th November 2024Walking route and Online nav test to be returned
Mid November 2024Hill Test
Late November 2024Visit to Base & interviews
Early DecemberDecisions go to applicants
Mid DecemberDeadline to accept place
1st Jan 2025Training starts


All Team members are unpaid volunteers, and all elements of the Team's training and administration are organised by the same unpaid volunteers.
Organising our annual recruitment takes a lot of our volunteer time, therefore the dates advertised for various aspects of the process are fixed, we just haven't got the resources to rearrange sessions.
If you can't make the advertised dates you will need to reapply in a subsequent year.

People who have joined say it's like having another family and because of the high standard of training their personal skill level, knowledge and confidence has grown dramatically. That plus the reward of working within a team and the satisfaction you get from a successful call out makes the sacrifice you have to make all worth while.