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Benighted Pair Rescued from Cheviots


Two exhausted walkers were airlifted from the Cheviots last night, Tuesday 18 Feb, having got lost in poor conditions. 

Difficult ground conditions prevented vehicles getting much beyond Sourhope (stock photo)  © BSARU
Difficult ground conditions prevented vehicles getting much beyond Sourhope (stock photo)

'Team mebers had been winding down to bedtime when pagers went shortly after 9pm, heralding an unexpected night in the hills' says Damon Rodwell of Border Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU).

Two walkers in their 60s had set off from the Ingram Valley in Northumberland for a hillwalk in the Cheviots. They became disorientated in limited visibility and used a fence as a navigational handrail. Unfortunately it was a relatively new fence which wasn’t marked on their map, compounding their confusion. Several hours after dark they managed to pinpoint their position at a finger-post on Cairn Hill, just a few hundred metres west of Cheviot summit. Given one walker's pre-existing medical condition, and the pair’s exhaustion, they to put in a call to Mountain Rescue.

'Teams were scrambled from Northumberland and from the Scottish side' says Damon Rodwell. 

'A hasty team of five local BSARU members set off for the Auchope Hut and Cairn Hill from Sourhope at the top of the Bowmont Valley, with team-mates arriving from further afield making their way onto the border ridge at Windy Gyle in case the walkers had headed in that direction. A small contingent remained in the control centre at Sourhope to coordinate the rescue and handle communications.'

'The poor visibility ruled out helicopter deployment, and an energetic march across sodden ground and steep snow was called for.'

Shortly before midnight the cloud thinned sufficiently for a Sea King from RAF Boulmer to ferry a couple of Northumberland team members and a dog up to Cairn Hill. The walkers were located about 500m from the summit and evacuated by helicopter.

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