Our Mountain Rescue England and Wales 4×4 resources with medics on board have been up to Cornhill near Coldstream, out to Bellingham in the west and down to Allendale in the south of our operational area. Driving conditions can only be described as treacherous.
In total we have responded to 15 incidents in less than 24 hours. More details will be provided when conditions ease. We’re currently changing shifts.
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: 30 November 2017
Location: A69, near Corbridge
After the Simon Yates presentation in Hexham on Thursday night, one of our Team Landrovers assisted at a RTC on the east bound carriageway on the A69. A Vauxhall Corsa and its occupants had had an altercation with the central reservation and ended up stationary across two lanes of the road. The four occupants were also on the carriageway.
Our Team member and one of our Support Group members assisted at the scene. The Team Landrover with blue lights was used to close off the road and the occupants of the Corsa were checked over and asked to remain behind the crash barrier. Northumbria Police were alerted on the Airwave radio.
Once the Police arrived on scene, the Vauxhall Corsa was moved off the carriageway and the Team’s Landrover and members were released to go. Thankfully nobody was injured.
The incident involved 2 Team members for 40 minutes.
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: 27 July 2017
Location: The Cheviot
The busy period continues with another incident yesterday afternoon. A walker fell on the flag stones near the summit of The Cheviot and sustained a head injury. His companion provided immediate first aid and requested the assistance of Mountain Rescue.
Northumbria Police contacted North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves, and our Duty Controller swiftly called out the Teams. Contact was also made with the casualty’s companion to assess the severity of the injuries.
As our Team Land Rover and members were en-route to the Harthope Valley, a local member headed up the hill to assess the situation. He was then followed by other Team members carrying a stretcher, casualty bag, group shelter, oxygen and other medical kit. Thankfully after the initial assessment it was felt that the casualty could walk off the hill with support. It would have been a very long stretcher carry off otherwise.
After medical attention and being warmed, a 3km supported walk down the hill and a short Landrover ride later, saw us hand over the casualty to the North East Ambulance Service.
We wish the walker a swift recovery not least because the accident happened on their first walk of a holiday to Northumberland. Not the way either of the walkers had hoped their day would end.
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.
Date: 7 March 2017
Location: Harthope Valley, near Wooler
Mid-afternoon yesterday the Team and North of Tyne MRT were requested by Northumbria Police to assist with the rescue of a female walker. The female had fallen and sustained a lower arm injury. The exact location was unknown but was believed to be on the footpath between Langleeford Farm and Scotsman Knowe.
The female’s husband raised the alarm having walked downstream to the nearest inhabited farmhouse at Langleeford.
Two Landrover ambulances were swiftly despatched whilst our Incident Officer travelled directly to the scene. Thankfully enroute the Teams were notified that a North East Ambulance Service Paramedic from Wooler had been able to access the female’s location just upstream of Langleeford Hope. The Paramedic was able to walk the casualty back to their vehicle and the Teams were stood down.
After the weekends incident one of our Land Rovers though it deserved a bit of TLC so refused to move any further.
After being carried on a low loader to Team Valley Land Rover, always a sad sight to see such a wonderful vehicle getting a lift on a recovery lorry, the guys there pulled out all the stops and prioritised the work.
After a very difficult job, aren’t they all, and parts sourced, we have it back and ready to work again, unfortunately with a bill that we would rather not have had.
However these vehicles are essential in allowing us to do our job so must be maintained and repaired ready for the next call.
Big thanks to Team Valley Land Rover for the work and team members who assisted with its recovery.
A lone male became unwell whilst walking in the Cheviot Hills this morning. Information received from the Police suggested the walker was in and out of consciousness. At this stage the exact location of the walker was unknown although indications were that he was on Hedgehope Hill.
The Team alongside North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team deployed immediately to rendezvous in the Harthope valley. SARLOC, the location App, was used successfully and the walker’s location was identified as being between Hedgehope and Long Crag. With this information, one of our Landrovers was re-directed to access the casualty’s location from Threestoneburn Wood whilst Team members headed up from the Harthope valley.
Given the seriousness of the situation, air support was also requested by our Incident Controller. A MCA helicopter from Prestwick, Rescue 999, was tasked to the incident and arrived on scene within 50 minutes.
Team members and a North East Ambulance Service Paramedic were transported up to the casualty’s location by the local farmer from Langleeford using his quad and trailer. The farmer’s support was very much appreciated.
Once the casualty had been assessed by the Paramedic from Rescue 999, Team members assisted the crew in carrying the stretcher to the awaiting S92 helicopter. The casualty was then flown to the RVI in Newcastle for further treatment.
The Team would also like to thank the passing walker who came across the casualty and provided immediate care before the emergency services arrived. The walker’s actions certainly helped to save a life.