Whilst the rest of the country bathed in glorious sunshine, much of Northumberland including the Simonside Hills was covered in thick mist. The prevailing weather conditions led to two walkers becoming disoriented and eventually lost in the Simonside Hills.
The Team alongside North of Tyne MRT were activated late afternoon by Northumbria Police to assist in the search for the two walkers. From the information received the two walkers having ‘walked over the hill’ had taken shelter in a hut next to rough track. From this information we identified the likely location of walkers as being the two huts on the track between Harwood Forest and Hepple Whitefield – along the route of the Sandstone Way and Border County Ride.
Two Team members were swiftly despatched to drive the rough track up to Whitefield Hill. The walkers were located in one of the shooting huts with the gas fire on to warm themselves up. When we pointed out to them where they had ended up, they were somewhat surprised and very grateful we’d turned up!
A Police 4×4 was used to transport the walkers back to their car at Simonside Forest car park.
All ended well and in time for Team members to enjoy their Saturday evening.
The incident involved 8 Team members for 1hr 50mins.
Following the incident at Kielder last Sunday, the next day the Team was providing rescue cover for the Shepherds Walks Coastal Challenge. A long day was interspersed with treating three walkers for a variety of ailments and injuries. Two of the walkers had to be evacuated in one of the Team’s Land Rover ambulances as they were unable to continue with the event.
Well done to everyone who completed the Coastal Challenge and in doing so helped raise funds for the Team.
With only a few months to go in our 50th year we are well on our way to reaching our £50k fundraising target. To date you have helped raised just over £41k. These funds are being put to use… they are helping us to convert a trailer into a mobile control unit and store for our water kit, and to replace the laptops used by our controllers.
We are now seeking to raise funds to equip each of our 40 Team members with a high visibility rucksack cover. These are essential when working in more urban environments and at night to ensure our members are easily seen.
This event is designed as a personal challenge that is accessible to all. We’ll be in strategic places along the routes, to provide encouragement and light refreshments, and so that if it becomes ‘too much of a challenge’, a Land Rover back to the village is possible. It’s a great opportunity to get high into the hills of the Northumberland National Park, have a great time with friends, and possibly make some new friends along the way.
There is a choice of two routes:
– Terry Lynn long route is about 23 miles and over 4000 feet of climbing
– Eileen Lynn short route is about 18 miles and over 3000 feet of climbing
Even when we are quiet as a team the work goes on. The vehicles and their equipment need regular checks, maintenance and repairs. Today we had a winch failure to sort. A full strip and rebuild got things going again. Volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure the team keeps rolling, and are ready when needed!
No sooner had we stood down from one incident and returned to base, another incident came in close to where we had just been!
Northumbria Police requested our assistance with locating a female and her son. The female was driving to a holiday cottage when she took a wrong turn and ended up on rough track before getting her car stuck.
Whilst North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team’s Land Rover and three Team members headed out west again, two of our Incident Controllers liaised with the Police and began to coordinate a search of the drivable tracks in the area. After an hour the female and her son were located safe and well north of Wall Shield.
Half of the group were involved in a session delivered by MIND on dealing with mental health issues. A very informative session which should us to better support Team members who might following a traumatic incident suffer from mental health issues.
The other half of the group looked at the newly updated stretcher bed fitting in the back of one of our Land Rover 4×4 ambulances and practised setting up the satellite Broadband system so that we have access to the Internet wherever we are.
The road linking Rothbury and the New Moor House cross road for the A697 experienced some horrendous driving conditions for around an hour this morning; with a complete white out due to drifting snow. Up to 20 vehicles were stuck at various places along the road, which was then closed to prevent further vehicles getting stuck. The photo shows what the road was like shortly before the local Police requested our assistance and before it got really bad.
We mobilised one of our Land Rovers to drive the road from the A697 towards Rothbury, to check on the welfare of those stranded and to tow them to a point where they could make further progress. At the same time, the Northumberland National Park Authority mobilised one of their Land Rovers to do the same, but in the opposite direction; from Rothbury to the A697.
Shortly after both Land Rovers started travelling to the scene, the weather started to ease and a snow plough managed to clear the road allowing it to become passable again and re-open.
A yellow alert for snow remains in place for the rest of today and the hills are very white! Always check the forecast and equip yourself for the conditions.
A total of 4 Team members were involved for 50 minutes.
Last night the teams mechanic pixies were out repairing and maintaining the teams two Land Rovers in the comfortable surroundings of the Fire Station garage. Even when the team members are not out training or rescuing there is still plenty to do to keep everything in readiness for the next outing. Unfortunately the vehicles do not repair themselves and as team members are working during the day in their main jobs, some midnight oil has to be burnt! There is so much work done behind the scenes to enable the team to turnout and perform when called for.