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Mountain Rescue Press Release: Dramatic rescue of 10 walkers on wintery Windy Gyle

The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) were activated by Northumbria Police at 15:02 on Sunday 12 February 2017. Initial reports indicated that 10 walkers and 2 dogs were stranded on Windy Gyle and two of the group were suffering from hypothermia.

Local Team members were deployed immediately to head up onto Windy Gyle. Additional members and resources from were also deployed along with a request for support from north of the Border. Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team (TVMRT) and Border Search & Rescue Unit (BSARU) duly responded.

As members were nearing the summit of Windy Gyle, further information suggested the walkers had headed east to try to locate some shelter. After 3.5 hours in challenging winter conditions the group of walkers were located. Team members had to wade through three to four foot snow drifts, sometimes even crawl, to reach the walkers’ location.

All the walkers were suffering from the effects of cold, with three requiring more urgent treatment and evacuation. A Doctor from TVMRT and a North East Ambulance Service Paramedic (and Mountain Rescue Team member) assessed all of the walkers. A Coastguard helicopter was requested and Rescue 999 from Prestwick made a valiant effort almost reaching the walkers’ location. Cloud on the tops and drifting snow, however, prevented further progress.

The back-up plan was for the farmer from Rowhope in his tracked vehicle to transport the casualties requiring immediate evacuation down to the valley and for the remaining members of the group to be walked off by MR members. The plan was duly put into practice.

The walkers and Mountain Rescue Team members were all safely off the hill by 00.11hrs, Monday morning. A number of the walkers were taken direct to hospital after a further assessment by the North East Ambulance Service and we hope they make a swift recovery from their ordeal.

The NNPMRT Team Leader, Iain Nixon, said “I would thank all the agencies involved and in particular praise the efforts of the farmer from Rowhope, without whose assistance the rescue would have taken much longer. The collective efforts of all involved ensured a successful outcome.”

Tweed Valley MRT were also assisted by the farmer from Cocklawfoot with another AllTerrain Vehicle (ATV).

The incident involved 64 Mountain Rescue Team members from both sides of the Border for 10 hours 20 minutes.

Mountain Rescue teams rely on donations from the public in order to deliver the service they provide. Donations to the Teams mentioned in this release can be made online at: Northumberland National Park MRT – https://www.justgiving.com/nnpmrt North Of Tyne MRT – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charityweb/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1006553 Tweed Valley MRT – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charityweb/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005371 Borders Search and Rescue Unit – http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/bordersar