At 22:08 on Monday 24 July, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were activated following a Duke of Edinburgh Gold
mountain bike expedition group were reported overdue by their supervisor.
Initial information on the group was limited with poor mobile service making contact with the supervisor difficult. The group’s potential location became available as contact had been made with two of the group who were walking off the hill towards Chattlehope by the shores of Catcleugh Reservoir. The other two group members were in their tent which was believed to be on Girdle Fell. The farmer from Chattlehope House assisted the supervisor with the retrieval of the two group members who were walking off the hill to raise the alarm, but were unable to locate them. At this point the Mountain Rescue Teams were deployed.
Soon after the first arrival of Mountain Rescue personnel at the farm, news came in that the two group members had been located and were being transported back to Chattlehope in the farmer’s 4×4.
Given the misty conditions, the remoteness of their location and the fact that there wasn’t any mobile communication with the two remaining group members, it was agreed with Northumbria Police that Mountain Rescue would locate them and walk them off the hill.
Four Team members along with Search Dog Ben and the farmer from Chattlehope House ventured up Girdle Fell. Ground conditions were extremely difficult and visibility was low due to the prevailing mist. The group’s tents and the two group members were located at 03.46hrs. Both were in good spirits and were walked them off the hill; all back at the vehicles an hour later.
The group was well equipped and had made the right decision to hold their position and send for help after the conditions experienced on their route were more challenging than expected, causing them to be very late.
The Mountain Rescue Teams wish to thank the farmer and his wife at Chattlehope for their hospitality and assisting with the rescue.
The incident involved 5 Team members for 7 hours 30 minutes. A further 12 Team members were en-route before being stood down.