Farmer to receive bravery award after winter rescue

Robert Bertram with his dog Taff.
Robert Bertram with his dog Taff.

A sheep farmer from Upper Coquetdale, who rescued his neighbour during a blizzard last winter, is being presented with an award for bravery next week.

Robert Bertram, of Philhope Farm, saved his fellow shepherd and neighbour, Mark Dey, of Blindburn Farm, who was near to death after becoming trapped under his quad bike in heavy, drifting snow on January 31 this year.

Robert had gone out in extremely bad weather, eventually finding Mark’s loyal sheepdog, who had been trying to keep him warm after the quad had fallen on top of him, leaving him stranded for hours.

The incident also led to Robert being named one of the three finalists in the BBC Countryfile Farming Heroes Award in April this year, although he did not win.

He will be receiving his bravery award in the Great Hall of the Discovery Museum, in Newcastle, on Tuesday at 7.30pm.

Interestingly, Robert’s rescue earlier this year took place a little over 140 years since Henry Rutherford Hall, a shepherd at Blindburn, died in the snow on the moors on December 15, 1874.

The 23-year-old’s frozen body was not discovered until January 11, 1875, with his hands still gripping the boots that he was bringing for a friend.

A newspaper report, from January 16, 1875, stated: ‘Since the thaw set in, a little more than a week ago, the shepherds of the English and Scottish Borders have had several arduous days’ search for Henry Hall, the young shepherd who perished in the snow four weeks ago. Somewhere about 40, with their dogs, were out several days and after the most diligent search, Hall’s body was discovered at Blindburnhead.’