Mountain rescue teams' warning after ill-equipped walkers spotted in Northumberland hills in blizzard-like conditions

Mountain rescue teams and Northumbria Police are calling for people not to put themselves or others at risk after ill-equipped walkers were spotted during heavy snowfall.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 6:06 pm

The treacherous conditions caused by snow and ice have not put some walkers off trekking through Northumberland’s hills.

Volunteers from the Northumberland National Park Mountain and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams have come across a number of people wearing unsuitable clothing.

This includes people in The Cheviots wearing trainers, tracksuit bottoms and lightweight jackets – despite blizzard-like conditions and sub-zero temperatures.

Mountain rescue teams in blizzard-like conditions

And with weather warnings in place for the next few days, emergency services have issued a reminder that they are not only putting themselves at risk but also those who could be called upon to come to their aid should they get into difficulty.

With winter conditions firmly in place across the hills of Northumberland, summit temperatures are set to remain at about -8C with a windchill down to as low as -19C at the weekend.

Mountain Rescue Team Leaders, Iain Nixon and Keith Briggs, said: “In these conditions a simple trip and slip can lead to a serious life-threatening situation and anyone going onto the hills must be prepared for winter conditions and be dressed and equipped accordingly.

“This includes the ability to navigate in zero visibility, read avalanche terrain and be in possession of ice axe and crampons.

“We would ask – please don’t put yourself and others at risk.”

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A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has been extended throughout the week and remains in place until just before midnight on Saturday, February 13.

These sentiments have been echoed by Northumbria Police Superintendent Andy Huddleston who works closely with the Mountain Rescue Teams.

He added: “Our valuable Mountain Rescue Teams are made up entirely of volunteers – many with demanding day jobs – who are called upon at all hours and in all conditions to help those in need.

“It is extremely disappointing and concerning for the Police to see people putting themselves and these teams at unnecessary risk.

“At a time when emergency services are already under pressure, we all have a role to play in making sure these resources are not diverted to situations which could so easily be avoided.”

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