Date: 18 January 2018
With a Met Office Amber warning over Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, and heavy snow falling over most of the area, Northumbria Police requested the assistance of North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves in the early hours of yesterday morning. Drivers, navigators and medics were swiftly allocated and made their way to the Teams’ bases at West Denton and Pegswood Fire Stations.
Soon after the North East Ambulance Service also requested our assistance and one 4×4 with a driver and Team medic on board was despatched to transfer a patient to the RVI.
The other four 4x4s, including a Northumberland National Park 4×4 in Rothbury, were then despatched to check the main arterial roads in rural #Northumberland and the main B roads between some of the more highly populated villages. The vehicle trackers show the extent of our travels, checking for stranded motorists and abandoned vehicles.
Whilst driving conditions were very difficult at times and much snow had fallen, conditions started to improve by 06.00hrs. The Teams stood down at 08.30hrs.
The incidents involved 12 Team members for six hours.
Yesterday evening Northumbria Police requested the Team’s assistance to locate a group of partially sighted walkers overdue in the Harthope valley near Wooler. A total of 19 walkers including their sighted guides were well over four hours late for their transport back to Wooler. They had set out to climb The Cheviot and return to the valley over Cairn Hill and Scotsman Knowe.
Given the wintery conditions on the hills, members from our Team and North of Tyne MRT were activated immediately. An advanced party, including two of our Incident Controllers, were on scene very quickly whilst the Team Landrovers and other members travelled to Langleeford farm.
On arrival at the farm, one of our Incident Controllers ascertained that all the walkers had managed to find their way safely off the hill. Other than being very tired from their long day, all the walkers were well.
A good outcome for all concerned. We hope they enjoyed their well deserved meal in the Red Lion!
A total of 21 Team members were involved for 1.5 hours.
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.
Amateur meteorologist Doug Paulley has started producing weather forecasts just for the Kielder area. Doug, who is studying with the Open University, noted that Kielder and it surrounding areas has its own ‘micro climate’ and some of the forecasts available were not very reliable so Doug decided to produce his own forecasts which he has kindly allowed us to post on our website.
Doug’s forecasts are generated eight times a day and are valid for Kielder Water and the immediate surrounding forest. He provides up to 6 day forecasts with an hour-by-hour resolution, and he also provide a free email service, where subscribers receive the latest forecast once a day at 7:10am.
Doug takes data from thousands of Government METAR and SYNOP weather stations up to 3,000km away; also from weather buoys, weather balloon soundings, ozone measurements and the inter-Government created Global Forecast System model outputs. He then uses this data as the base for his interactive local atmospheric modeling system and parse the output as a detailed weather forecast.
The idea is hopefully to be able to provide a useful resource for organisations such as ourselves and Calvert Trust Kielder are also using his forecasting service. Having carefully tailored his forecasting model specifically for Kielder area, he has hopes that it may be of better accuracy than some of the others. Doug is also trying to implement a Kielder Midge forecast and a midge warning .
April’s event started with a welcome return to The Duke’s Pantry at Kielder Castle for breakfast and sorting paperwork, the Mountain Rescue team also brought their brand new vehicle with them to show off to the the capacity entry for the Safari. By taking part in the Kielder 4×4 Safari you have helped towards the huge cost of buying and equipping the new vehicle, and the Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank all those who support our event and those who support the Team directly as without your support they would not be able to operate.
Making a début on this event also was Kielder 4×4 Safari’s new (to us) support vehicle, the white Land Rover Defender 110 has been retired from an active serving Mountain Rescue vehicle and will now be used by the Safari as a support vehicle on events and also keep an eye out for it at some of the local shows in the summer where we will be doing more fund raising.
As we were fully booked for the event we had to split the cars into two groups, which meant two convoys, each doing a separate route, then meeting up at the Dam at lunchtime and then the convoys switched routes in the afternoon. We had a mixture of surfaces to deal with, from the snow on the higher ground, some muddy trails and we even had to contend with dust on convoy two’s run back to the castle.
We had quite a few new faces on this event and from talking to people at the end everybody seems to have enjoyed themselves and we would love to welcome you back at a future event, this welcome of course is also extended to our regular visitors, some of who have supported us for a long time.
If this sounds like something you would like to experience then why not head over to our bookings page and sign up for the next Safari on Saturday 18th May 2013
If you require any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can find our details on the Contact Page
The Kielder 4×4 Safari proceeds go to Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team. Registered Charity 511313.
When we arrived at Kielder Forest and Water park early on the morning of our February event we were greeted with a blanket of mist covering the reservoir and filling the valley, most of the snow had disappeared from the lower parts of the forest but was still visible on the hilltops. We also had a new meeting venue for breakfast as the Duke’s Pantry is still undergoing its renovations at the Castle. The new meeting place was The Boat Inn at Leaplish Waterside Park and the staff provided a great welcome and a very filling breakfast which was eaten overlooking the perfectly still reservoir.
The first Kielder 4×4 Safari of 2013 took place yesterday in a very cold and snowy Kielder Forest in Northumberland. With the Dukes Pantry closed for refurbishment we met for breakfast and signing on at The Boe Rigg just outside Bellingham. Once everybody was fed and the briefing had taken place we headed off into the forest, with about a dozen cars in the convoy, because the Safari has access to tracks not normally available to the public we were literally creating our own tracks in the virgin snow! At times Ian in the lead car had difficulty knowing where the track was so we had to proceed with caution but luckily we made it through the morning session without incident and headed back to Kielder Castle for lunch.