Friday, 19 March 2021

Dalesfolk: Michael Ellerton of Wharfedale Mountain Rescue

 "“You’re Australian?! What are you doing living in the Dales?” I get this question a lot from students who visit the Outdoor Education Centre where I work on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s hard for people to understand why someone would leave the sun and outdoor lifestyle of Australia to settle in the not as sunny and often wet Yorkshire Dales. I try to point out how lucky we are to live where we do. Living in the Dales provides a fantastic work life balance and access to some of the most amazing locations in the UK. I can finish work at five, head up dale and get an evening caving, biking or climbing and still get to the pub for pint of real ale before last orders. 

I’ve lived, played and worked around the Yorkshire Dales for over ten years. I’ve been a volunteer member of Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association for the last five, where I’m the assistant underground leader. In that time, I have been involved in a range of surface, water, and underground rescues. The most recent cave rescue coming at 11:30 in the evening of the team’s 70th Anniversary. That rescue that took nearly 12 hours, involving 28 volunteers and other emergency services teams. Thankfully it resulted in all parties being safely recovered from the cave, a great team effort but a long night underground.

I feel very lucky to be able to work alongside the volunteers that make up the rescue team and hopefully give back a little to the region that offers so much. The Yorkshire Dales is an amazing place to live, work and play."


Michael Ellerton is a member of Wharfedale Mountain Rescue.

This is an interview from my 2019 “Dalesfolk” book. For more information, go here: