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.
August was a very busy month and now September is off to a flier too!
On Saturday whilst the Team was covering the Cheviots Challenge, we dealt with three separate incidents in the hills to the north and north west of Alwinton.
A female in her early 50s was suffering from severe chest pains, causing her to collapse in one of the most exposed sections of the Pennine Way, west of Windy Gyle. Two Team members were on scene within minutes and further assistance arrived shortly after. One of the Doctors in the Team worked alongside two of our other medics to stabilise the casualty, before handing over to the Great North Air Ambulance Service for a short flight to a crewed Ambulance in the Coquet valley.
Whilst this incident was ongoing, Team members were also dealing with a second female who had sustained an ankle injury and was unable to continue. Both casualties were taken to hospital in the same Ambulance.
The third incident came late in the day when a group of nine walkers became lost and were overtaken by darkness. Once again SARLOC – a location App – proved its worth. A text was sent to one of the walker’s mobile phones which enabled us to pinpoint their location. The walkers had turned 90 degrees off their intended route and ended up in unfamiliar ground 2km from their last known point, Shillmoor. They had walked an extra 5km from Shillmoor and had almost gone in a full circle!
The walkers were evacuated in our Team vehicles to Alwinton where they were checked out by a Doctor and a medic from the Team before being allowed to head home.
All in a long day’s work!
The incidents involved Team 25 members over a period of 8 hours.
The 35th Cheviots Challenge is fast approaching and will take place next weekend – Saturday 3 September. This fantastic event will get you high in the hills of the Northumberland National Park with the Team close by in strategic locations along the route to keep you safe.
Two short lived incidents in a day! The Team along with North of Tyne MRT was contacted by Northumbria Police at 22.50hrs for an overdue walker in the College Valley.
The owner of the Mounthooly Bunkhouse had contacted the Police after a walker failed to turn up. The walker in his 60s had left, late morning, to walk along the Border Ridge to Windy Gyle and back. After it baca me dark the owner of the bunkhouse, quite rightly, became increasingly concerned for the lone walker’s wellbeing.
As one of our Incident Controllers was speaking to the Police, the walker arrived back at the bunkhouse – safe, tired and rather late for his dinner!
All done and dusted very quickly and without anyone needing to leave home! We like these sort of incidents.
The incident involved two Team members for 15 minutes.
Right place, right time. On the Bank Holiday Monday one of our Team members happened across a group of nine walkers and two dogs on the Salter’s Road at the eastern edge of the Uswayford Forest. This is one of the more remote parts of our beautiful National Park.
The walkers stopped our Team member and asked for directions. It turns out that the group of walkers were intending to climb Windy Gyle having set off from Barrowburn. They were now a good 6km off course and were heading towards the Breamish valley!
Given the time a decision was taken by the Team member to shuttle the group back down the Usway valley to the track heading south to Barrowburn over Middle Hill. Thankfully his 4×4 was close at hand and meant for a swift transportation of the group.
The group then walked back the last few kilometres to Barrowburn having never made the summit of Windy Gyle. Our Team member waited at Barrowburn to see the group coming safely down the hill before heading home.
The actions of our Team member certainly avoided a search for the full Team later in the day.
The incident involved one Team member for 1hr 55mins.
Five prospective trainees have been put through their paces today. Given the clear conditions we focused on micro navigation using a map, compass and techniques such as aiming off, timing/pacing and re-section and triangulation, amongst others. A great day with all five progressing to become trainees. Well done!
Now the hard work starts with a minimum of a 12 month structured training programme.