Ladder To The Rescue On Dartmoor

Ladder To The Rescue On Dartmoor

28th January 2014

Safety ladders are designed to minimise risk when working at height, avoid accidents and save lives.  There are many employees within the construction industry who owe their well being to an efficient and well-designed safety ladder and there are stories in the press on a regular basis of workers who have had accidents at work due to a lack of efficient safety equipment.

However, the humble ladder hit the headlines again last month but in a most unusual way.  A woman walking on Dartmoor managed to get trapped in a bog.  As we all know, Dartmoor in South Devon is famous for its moorland and is protected by National Park status.  The granite which forms the uplands of Dartmoor dates from the Carboniferous Period - the exposed granite hilltops are known as ‘tors’ and provide habitat for Dartmoor’s rich wildlife.

Although parts of Dartmoor are used as military firing ranges, it’s still possible to walk the moors extensively here and it’s a favourite destination for tourists from all over the UK and around the world.  
Dartmoor enjoys more than its fair share of rainfall compared with the surrounding lowlands and this has resulted in much of the area being covered in thick layers of peat.  The rain is usually rapidly absorbed her so the moorland is very rarely dry.  In areas where the water accumulates the most, there are dangerous bogs, many of which are topped with bright green moss (these are known to locals as ‘feather beds’ or ‘quakers’) and are quite unstable and constantly shifting.

Some of these bogs have achieved notoriety, especially Fox Tor Mires, a bog that was supposedly the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles novel.  Dartmoor is rich in myths and legends, the haunt of pixies, a pack of ‘spectral hounds’, a headless horseman and a large black dog amongst them.  Many of the ancient landmarks have mysterious legends and ghost stories attached to them, including the Beast of Dartmoor.

On January 11th of this year, the lady in question was out walking the moors when she accidentally stumbled into a bog and was unable to get out.  Police received a call from the lady in question asking for help.  With poor mobile phone reception, the call was dropped several times and police had to enlist help from mobile phone providers to locate the unfortunate lady who was not far from Brent Tor, north of Tavistock.

The police helicopter was then deployed, followed by officers from both Tavistock and nearby Okehampton.  The helicopter crew managed to spot the lady and direct the officers on the ground.  However, help was still needed to rescue the woman and this came in the form of a farming family with a ladder and an old door.  The lady was stuck to her waist in mud and the ladder was used to help spread the weight of her rescuers.

With the help of the ladder the lady was rescued uninjured, but cold and wet and uncomfortable.  The farming family then took her home for a shower and provided dry clothing for the lady to wear home.

Once again, a ladder has made all the difference in what could have become a very tragic accident.