Northumberland's mountain rescue teams saw a large increase in their call-outs last month compared to the same time last year, in part due to the adverse weather.
The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) were called for help seven times over January 2016, representing a 130 per cent increase in incidents compared with January 2015. This can in part be attributed to the severe weather conditions.
The most serious incident came in the middle of the month and saw the emergency shelter built by the Northumberland National Park Authority with assistance from mountain rescue volunteers once again help to save a life.
On Saturday, January 16, the teams were called at 5.55am by the Border Search & Rescue Unit after a severely hypothermic walker was found on the Border Ridge in the Cheviots by participants of the Spine Race (which covers the full 268 miles of the Pennine Way, finishing in Kirk Yetholm). The walker had spent a considerable period of time out in the wintry hills following the event.
The casualty was initially treated and re-warmed by the Spine Race safety team which was located at the Auchope Shelter, just below Auchope Cairn on the Border Ridge. Given the seriousness of the casualty’s condition, a Coastguard helicopter from Glasgow (Prestwick) was scrambled. The casualty was safely evacuated by 9.40am and he is expected to make a full recovery.
Over this weekend, the teams were alerted twice; at 8.50am on Saturday, two members helped in the search for Leanne Bramwell, who was found safe and well, while on Sunday, police asked them to help find a family in woodland near Hexham, only to be stood down a few minutes later.
The teams would like to remind the public that when severe weather conditions are forecast, to take sufficient warm clothing for the conditions and spare food and water with them while travelling, whether that is on foot or in their cars. When significant accumulations of snow and ice form on the hills of Northumberland, it can become very slippy resulting in the need for walkers to carry, and know how to use, ice axes and crampons.