A family who were cycling in the Cheviots reported themselves in distress at the Yearning Saddle Rescue Hut on the border ridge. Alongside North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, we mobilised and made our way to the rescue hut. There was no sign of the family however, and a number of routes in the surrounding area were searched. As the search area extended, the Border Search and Rescue Unit also mobilised who located the family safe and well at 02:20 in a tent at Calroust.
The incident involved 18 MRT members on the English side of the border for 6 hours.
Date: 10 December
Location: Auchope Cairn, College Valley
The third incident this week led to the Team being deployed to the College Valley. A relative of a walker reported that they had been tracking the walker’s phone and indicated that the ‘phone ping’ had remained in the same location for 24 hours. She was clearly concerned for the walker’s wellbeing and contact was duly made with the Police.
Northumbria Police activated North of Tyne MRT and ourselves just before midday on Sunday. As we went to standby and the National Police Air Support service attended, a hasty party of local Team members was despatched to the College valley. Two vehicles were also despatched in support.
Soon after it was decided to call out the full team as we were uncertain NPAS could reach the location of the ‘phone ping’ due to cloud lying over The Cheviot. The Teams were to RV in Wooler to give us the option of deploying search groups from Wooler Common, Harthope valley and College valley.
Border Search & Rescue Unit were also placed on standby.
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) not long after the callout message it became apparent that our missing walker had more than likely spent the night at the Mounthooly bunkhouse and had left in the morning, fit and well. Once this information was confirmed, the majority of Team members were stood down.
The hasty party was requested by the Police to conduct a limited search in and around the location of the ‘phone ping’, which by now had been confirmed as being on the northerly slope of Auchope Cairn, just below the summit. After a hasty search of the lower to mid section of the Hen Hole and the route from Auchope shelter to Auchope Cairn had been conducted, with nothing found, the hasty party headed back to our Land Rover in the valley. Soon after it was confirmed that the walker had returned to Mounthooly having walked to Windy Gyle and back, totally oblivious about what had been going on.
A well meaning incident. Thankfully nobody was at risk and the walker was accounted for at the end of the day.
We’d like to thank, once again, the College Valley Estate for their assistance.
The incident involved 8 Team members for 6 hours 30 minutes. Another 16 members were en-route to Wooler when they were stood down.
Date: 16 October 2017
Location: Auchope Shelter, Pennine Way
As one of our incident controllers was liaising with Northumbria Police regarding incident number 51, more details to follow, a second request for support came in. This time for an injured female walker who had spent the night in the Auchope Mountain Refuge Hut. The female had been walking the Pennine Way and on descending from Auchope Cairn on Sunday had damaged her ankle. Being well equipped she decided to spend the night in the shelter before trying to finish her journey the following day.
Unfortunately with the prevailing weather and the state of her ankle, the walker rightly requested help from Mountain Rescue. North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves responded from the College Valley and Border Search & Rescue Unit from Sourhope Farm on the Scottish side of the border. We were assisted by the College Valley Estates, once again, with the use of one of their ATVs.
The walker was ultimately evacuated down to Sourhope Farm by the Border’s team.
Date: 27 August 2017
Location: Auchope Shelter
The busy Bank Holiday weekend continues. A female walker had sustained a knee injury and was unable to weight bare whilst walking in The Cheviots. The injured walker and her three companions decided to call for the assistance of Mountain Rescue and took shelter in the Auchope refuge hut on the Border Ridge.
North of Tyne MRT and ourselves swiftly responded with two local members travelling direct to the College Valley and two Team Land Rovers from our respective bases with two Team members on board each. The RVP was Mounthooly bunkhouse.
In parallel Border Search & Rescue Unit deployed from the Scottish side of the border with two Landrovers. They intended to approach the refuge from the Bowmont valley whilst we approached from the upper College valley.
Thankfully for us the Estate Manager for College Valley and a colleague were able to assist by transporting a Team member onto the hill in their ATV. The ATV was then used to evacuate the injured walker and one other member of the party. Our Team member then walked the other two members of the party off the hill before being transported the remainder of the journey back to Mounthooly in a Team Land Rover.
The walkers were then transported in a Team Land Rover (or taxi!) back to their car in the Harthope Valley. They never quite made it to the top of The Cheviot – their objective for the day – so we hope they’ll be back up this way again once our casualty has made a full recovery.
We would particularly like to thank Steven and Mark from the College Valley Estate for their assistance during this rescue.
Date: 23 July 2017
Location: Yearning Saddle Refuge
A female walker sustained an upper leg injury late yesterday afternoon and was unable to weight bare. The female, her partner and their two dogs took refuge in the shelter at Yearning Saddle just below Lamb Hill and called the Police and requested Mountain Rescue’s assistance. By this stage the weather conditions on the hill had deteriorated with heavy rain and low visibility.
North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves responded immediately, with local members heading straight up the Upper Coquet Valley to Blindburn to liaise with Northumbria Police officers. Two Rescue Team vehicles were also deployed. Borders Search & Rescue Unit were alerted in case additional assistance was required.
Once again the shepherd from Blindburn assisted us by skilfully driving up onto the Border Ridge in his 4×4. Conditions were worse than two weeks ago when he last made the same trip but nevertheless we made it!
Our Team Leader and a Paramedic from the North East Ambulance Service were soon at the refuge shelter where the female was assessed and given pain relief before being assisted into the 4×4. Half an hour later we were safely back down at Blindburn and the female casualty was handed over to a NEAS crewed ambulance.
Thanks again to the shepherd from Blindburn who made our job a lot easier yesterday evening. A long carryover beckoned…!
Date: 19 July 2017
Location: Newcastle and Durham
Northumbria Police requested our support with a missing person who lived in the Newcastle area and had been last seen in North Shields. SARLOC was used again to try to identify the missing person’s location. No response to SMS was received and no further action was taken by the Team or North of Tyne MRT.
During the above incident, our Duty Controller also received a request from the North East Ambulance Service to assist in locating a casualty on an embankment in the Durham area. Not strictly our area but to provide a timely response a SARLOC SMS was sent by our Duty Controller. The casualty was eventually located by NEAS.
Earlier in the evening our Duty Controller had also been alerted to an incident on the Scottish side of the Cheviots by Border Search & Rescue Unit. At this stage it was for situational awareness and BSARU along with the Scottish Ambulance Service were able to deal with the injured farmer.
A busy evening but thankfully we didn’t need to leave our homes!
Date: 05 July 2017
Time: 09.00 hrs
Location: Yearning Saddle, near Lamb Hill
The Team was requested to assist with the evacuation of a walker from the mountain refuge shelter at Yearning Saddle just below Lamb Hill by the North East Ambulance Service yesterday morning. The lone walker had spent the night in the shelter and was suffering from severe abdominal pains. Two other walkers who had also spent the night at the shelter raised the alarm.
The Team and North of Tyne MRT responded immediately from the south and Border Search & Rescue Unit were requested to deploy from the north side of the Border ridge. A member of our controller group was swiftly to the RVP at Blindburn and in discussion with our Incident Officer, who was operating remotely, agreed to proceed with a NEAS Community Paramedic to the casualty.
Thankfully the farmers from Blindburn and Fulhope came to our assistance. Whilst our 4x4s we’re still en-route they provided us with the off-road capability required to get us up the hill.
Whilst all of this was happening the NEAS HART with their Polaris was travelling to the RVP and the MCA helicopter from Prestwick had been deployed. At this stage we had no confirmed condition of the casualty.
Twenty minutes are deploying from Blindburn, a Team member and the Paramedic were in-scene with the casualty. After the initial assessment, the walker was safely evacuated from the hill in the farmer’s pick-up. Skilful driving which saved a lot of leg work!
We hope the walker makes a swift and full recovery. We would like to thank all the agencies involved for their swift and coordinated response and pay particular thanks to the farmers who assisted with evacuation. Much appreciated.
A group of 10 walkers had set off earlier in the day from near to Wooler to cover a route of over 20 miles as part of a fundraising effort for charity. The group had split in two during the day and two walkers in one group of five were suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.
As the walkers were technically in our operational area and given the nature of their condition, our Incident Officer agreed with Border Search & Rescue Unit that they would deploy members from the north to the Border ridge. The two walkers and the other three in the group were eventually reunited at Cocklawfoot where the Scottish Ambulance Service assessed the two casualties.
Our Incident Officer provided remote support to the incident and liaised with Northumbria Police to determine whether the other five walkers had safely made it off the hill. A hasty team also stood by in case additional support was required.
All members of the group were confirmed to be safely off the hill at 22.27hrs.
Date: 2 March 2017
Location: Border Ridge
At 18.30hrs yesterday Police Scotland requested the assistance of Border Search & Rescue Unit to locate two Danish walkers on the Border Ridge. The walkers were believed to be between Auchope Cairn and Windy Gyle.
The teams south of the border – North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves – were alerted by BSARU. One of our controller group sent a SARLOC message to the walkers. Thankfully this time it worked – the poor mobile reception in the area affects whether the system works.
Armed with the exact location it was agreed to despatch a group from the north side of the border to locate and evacuate the walkers. The walkers were swiftly located and walked off the hill to a waiting ATV. They were cold, but otherwise no worse for their ordeal.
As you’ll see from the SARLOC fix below the walkers weren’t too far away from the location of the 10 walkers involved in Incident No.8.
Date: 12 February 2017
Location: Windy Gyle
The Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were activated by Northumbria Police yesterday afternoon. Initial reports indicated that 10 walkers and 2 dogs were stranded on Windy Gyle and two of the group were suffering from hypothermia.
Local Team members were deployed immediately to head up onto Windy Gyle. Additional members and resources from were also deployed along with a request for support from north of the Border. Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and Border Search & Rescue Unit duly responded.
As members were nearing summit of Windy Gyle, further information suggested the walkers had headed east to try to locate some shelter. After 3.5 hours in challenging winter conditions the group of walkers were located. Team members had to wade through three to four foot snow drifts, sometimes even crawl, to reach the walkers’ location.
All the walkers were suffering from the effects of cold, with three requiring more urgent treatment and evacuation. A Doctor from TVMRT and a North East Ambulance Service Paramedic (and MR Team member) assessed all of the walkers. A Coastguard helicopter was requested and Rescue 999 from Prestwick made a valiant effort almost reaching the walkers’ location. Cloud on the tops and drifting snow, however, prevented further progress.
The back up plan was for the farmer from Rowhope in his tracked vehicle to transport the casualties requiring immediate evacuation down to the valley and for the remaining members of the group to be walked off by MR members. The plan was duly put into practice.
The walkers and Team members were all safely off the hill by 00.11hrs, Monday morning. A number were taken direct to hospital after a further assessment by the North East Ambulance Service and we hope they make a swift recovery from their ordeal.
Our Team Leader, Iain Nixon, said “I would thank all the agencies involved and in particular praise the efforts of the farmer from Rowhope, without whose assistance the rescue would have taken much longer. The collective efforts of all involved ensured a successful outcome.”
Tweed Valley MRT were also assisted by the farmer from Cocklawfoot with another ATV.
The incident involved 64 Mountain Rescue Team members from both sides of the Border for 10 hours 20 minutes.