Date: 24 July 2017
Location: Chattlehope, near Catcleugh Reservoir
Just as many of you are waking up, some of our members are just off to bed! Or more to the point off to work after no sleep!
A Duke of Edinburgh Gold mountain bike expedition group from the Midlands was reported overdue by their supervisor. Northumbria Police swiftly alerted North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves. Initial information on the group was limited and our Duty Controller was unable to contact the supervisor due to the poor mobile service in the area he was in.
After an hour further information on the group’s potential location became available as contact had been made with two of the group who were walking off the hill towards Chattlehope by the shores of Catcleugh Reservoir. The other two group members were in their tent which was believed to be on Girdle Fell. The farmer from Chattlehope House assisted with the retrieval of the two group members who were walking off the hill to raise the alarm. Unfortunately he and one of the supervisors were unable to initially locate them.
At this point we called both Teams out and by this stage one of our controllers and a 4×4 vehicle were already en-route. Soon after the arrival of our controller at the farm, news came in that the two group members had been located and were being transported back to Chattlehope in the farmer’s 4×4.
Our attention then turned to the two members still up on Girdle Fell. Given the misty conditions, the remoteness of their location and the fact that there wasn’t any mobile communication with the two remaining group members, it was agreed with Northumbria Police that we would locate them and walk them off the hill.
Four Team members along with Search Dog Ben and the farmer from Chattlehope House ventured up Girdle Fell. Ground conditions were extremely difficult and visibility was low due to the prevailing mist. The group’s tents and the two group members were located at 03.46hrs. Both were in good spirits and we duly walked them off the hill; all back at the vehicles an hour later.
The group was well equipped and had made the right decision to hold their position and send for help after the conditions experienced on their route were more challenging than expected, causing them to be very late. A good outcome for all concerned and a long night for some!
Many thanks to the farmer and his wife at Chattlehope for their hospitality and assisting with the rescue.
The incident involved 5 Team members for 7 hours 30 minutes. A further 12 Team members were en-route before being stood down.
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