In a joint operation, three Mountain Rescue teams from Northumberland National Park, North of Tyne and the Borders were involved in successfully locating a group of five people at a remote location on the Border Ridge in the Cheviot Hills last night.
The four members of the group were cold and miserable but unhurt when found; one member of the group was treated for hypothermia and stress-induced chest pains but made a swift and full recovery.
The group, comprising two families, had set out to walk from Wooler to Byrness, where they all lived.
At Lamb Hill shelter they realised they were not going to make it to Byrness and organised for someone to pick them up from Chew Green at the head of the Coquet valley.
They became lost after Lamb Hill shelter when they decided to set off cross-country towards Chew Green.
They managed to contact the police but were not able to give an exact location and from the information provided seemed to be ill-equipped for the prevailing conditions. They had no spare clothing, poor quality waterproofs, one torch and one mobile phone between them.
Northumbria Police called Mountain Rescue at around 9.10pm with information about the missing group. The teams jointly responded to the incident with an initial rapid response and then full team callout.
Mobile phone contact was initially established with the missing young people by one of the incident controllers, before the group’s mobile phone battery ran out.
The initial rapid response involved two Search & Rescue dogs and their handlers, and four team members, supported by the RAF search and rescue helicopter from Boulmer.
The search dogs were deployed to search from Blindburn farm in Upper Coquetdale up the ridge past Yearning Law towards Lamb Hill and up Buckham’s Walls Burn towards the shelter on Lamb Hill.
The full teams were called out at approximately 10pm with emergency vehicles and additional team members en-route to the rescue vehicle at Blindburn.
The RAF Sea King helicopter located the missing group close to the Lamb Hill shelter and airlifted them to the safety.
In all 40 people – all of them volunteers, four vehicles, two Search & Rescue dogs and a helicopter were brought together in a joint manoeuvre to rescue the young people.
Pete Roberts, team leader of the Northumberland National Park MRT explained that all involved were delighted that the group had been found and rescued so quickly.
He said: “We’re very satisfied that our teams worked so well together in this early run before the really bad weather sets in, and delighted that these young people are safe. Even though it was relatively mild last night, the wind on the higher ground meant that there was a risk of the group becoming dangerously cold without the proper clothing and equipment for the prevailing conditions.
“We would urge everyone thinking about walking in the hills to take with them suitable waterproof and warm clothing, a torch and an appropriate survival equipment; to make sure their mobile phones are fully charged; and, most importantly to take a map and compass and know how to use them because there is no guarantee of mobile coverage in the remote parts of Northumberland and the Borders.”