MOUNTAIN rescue volunteers from across the North of England will be on stand-by this weekend to come to the aid of injured spectators watching the Tour de France.

Up to one million people are due to watch the riders make their way through the Yorkshire Dales for the first stage of the Grand Depart on Saturday.

Many spectators are expected to make their way to remote vantage points along the route and mountain rescue teams have agreed to be on stand-by in case of emergencies.

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Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team (SMRT) members will camp out from Friday at the top of the Buttertubs Pass, while volunteers from Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) will be stationed on Grinton Moor.

The teams have been training for months for the event and will have with them a range of medical equipment, as well as ropes, harnesses and stretchers for steep ground rescue; four wheel drive ambulances and a sophisticated radio communications systems.

A temporary helicopter landing zone for the air ambulance has also been created.

Paul Denning, chairman of SMRT, said “With very large numbers of people expected to watch the race from the Buttertubs the police asked for our assistance and support.

"Our local knowledge, skills and expertise in working in these type of remote and rugged locations mean we will be able to respond to any emergency should it arise.”

Mr Denning said spectator could take simple steps to ensure their enjoyment of the day, including bringing extra clothes, plenty of food and water and stout footwear.

CMRT leader Mal Selby added: "The tour is a great opportunity to showcase Northern England to the world.

"It’s wonderful to be involved but we are hoping everyone will stay safe and accident free so we can watch the King of the Mountains on Grinton Moor undisturbed."

Volunteers from the Cave Rescue Organisation, Kirby Stephen Search and Mountain Rescue Team, Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team, Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association and Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team will also on hand over the two days.

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