Injured walker carried for three hours on a stretcher from remote Northumberland hills in complete darkness

The injured walker is loaded into the Mountain Rescue Service Land Rover ambulance.
The injured walker is loaded into the Mountain Rescue Service Land Rover ambulance.

An injured hiker was carried by stretcher for three hours from a remote part of the Northumberland National Park in an incredible rescue mission.

The eight-hour operation was carried out by mountain rescue teams in complete darkness across difficult, boggy conditions.

Just before 3pm on Saturday (October 10), the North East Ambulance Service requested the support of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team for the man, who had suffered a shoulder injury, in the Hedgehope area, north-east of Ingram.

On receiving the call, the exact location of the casualty was not known. The teams were able to speak to his two companions on the hill and determined that they were most likely to be near Coldlaw Cairn.

He was found at 5.15pm at Coldlaw, some three kilometres from the closest location drivable by 4x4 and at an altitude of more than 600 metres above sea level.

After stabilising the man, who had a shoulder injury, a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from RNAS Prestwick in Scotland was requested for evacuation but was unavailable due to the prevailing weather conditions, including low cloud and hill fog. The casualty was stranded above the cloud base.

With darkness falling, the hiker, who was in his late 20s, was initially slowly walked a short distance to Coomb Fell to help warm him up before an arduous three-hour stretcher evacuation in complete darkness over many peat hags and a river crossing.

From Langleeford Hope, he was transferred to a Mountain Rescue 4x4 Land Rover ambulance to be taken to the nearest road where he was transferred to a crewed ambulance.

The incident ended at 11pm and involved 18 team members for eight hours.

It is the third incident that the volunteers have responded to in less than two weeks and the 44th incident in 2015, making this year one of the busiest in the Teams’ history with over two months left to the end of the year.