Cold Law, Harthope Valley

16 April 2023

A solo walker in his 70s set out from the Harthope Valley to follow the permissive path up onto Cold Law before returning to the valley via the Hawsen Burn. A relatively short circular walk of 3.5km and about 350m of ascent. The walker did not intend to be out much more than an hour and a half. When the walker didn’t return, his wife became increasingly concerned.

Two Team members happened to be in the valley at the time and became aware of the developing situation late in the afternoon. Given the situation, Northumbria Police were alerted and it was agreed that our response vehicle from Rothbury and two other members would head to Harthope Valley to assist. As the vehicle travelled northwards, the other two members and the two Northumberland National Park Voluntary Rangers conducted a search of the walker’s intended route.

Thankfully as North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves were about to go to full callout, and soon after two other response vehicles and five members, that had just returned from training earlier in the day, had been deployed from Pegswood, the overdue walker came into view. Having reached the summit of Cold Law, the walker had taken a couple of wrong turns and ended up well off his intended route. When he realised he’d gone wrong, he retraced his steps part way before finding his way safely back to the Harthope Valley.

All ended well and the couple were very appreciative of our efforts and willingness to help them out. We would like to especially thank the two Voluntary Rangers and the family who comforted the walker’s wife and helped with initial attempts to locate the walker.

The incident involved 10 Team members for 2 hours and 25 minutes.