Memorial cairn with a tragic story in the Northumberland hills is restored thanks to donations
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The memorial was erected at High Knowes, Alnham, in 2007 in memory of two shepherds who died in a blizzard on November 17, 1962.
Shepherds Jock Scott and Willie Middlemas were making their way home from Rothbury Mart in a blizzard and dropped their friend, Willie Bulloch off at Castle Hill Farm.
They attempted to make the last few miles of the journey to Ewartly Shank, just a track at the time, by tractor.
Two days later, Willie Bulloch raised the alarm after Mrs Scott asked him when she should expect Jock home.
The RAF, police, shepherds and local farm workers got involved in the search and later that day they found the tractor under a snow drift at High Knowes, Alnham, with both bodies not too far away. They weren’t too far from home when they died.
The tragedy devastated the local community, but it also prompted the creation of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, who today are made up of volunteers always on standby to help people stranded in the hills.
They use the latest equipment and technology as well as dogs to find missing persons, co-ordinate rescues with the ambulance service, police and coastguard when necessary and are trained to rescue injured people from the difficult terrain in all weathers.
The local community, Northumberland National Park Authority and NNP Mountain Rescue Team joined together to create the cairn which, until recently, had 16 years of weathering and lichen build up, making it difficult to read the inscription by passers-by.
The Northumberland National Park Authority and the Margery Stephenson’s Trust Fund, administered by the Glendale Gateway Trust based in Wooler, donated money in a 50/50 split towards it being cleaned.
Northumberland National Park Authority then contacted Elsdon Memorials, a small family restoration business in the Coquet Valley, to restore just the inscription on the historic memorial. Angi Roberts, owner of the business, has experience restoring all kinds of memorials and was honoured to have been asked.