College Valley

22 January 2023

Two Montane Spine Race competitors who were suffering from the extreme cold and exhaustion had to be assisted down to Hut 2 below Auchope Cairn in the early hours of Sunday morning by the event safety team. Following an assessment at the refuge hut, it was decided that one of the competitors would potentially need stretchering off the hill.

A 999 call was made with a specific request for Mountain Rescue and shortly after Northumbria Police activated North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves. With incident being on the border with Scotland, the Border Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU) as per our standard protocol were alerted. Five response vehicles and Team members were swiftly mobilised, with the English side heading to the Mounthooly in the College Valley and the Scottish side heading to Cocklawfoot.

Given the snow conditions there was uncertainty as to whether the 4×4 vehicles on the Scottish side would reach the hut; under good conditions it’s an absolute certainty. Consequently hill parties with vital equipment were deployed on foot from south of Mounthooly on the English side of the border. The first hill party arrived at the hut shortly before the Landrovers from the Scottish side. But thanks to some great off-road driving to reach the hut it meant that the evacuation was much simpler than would have otherwise been the case.

Both competitors and the event safety team medic were then transported off the hill and driven round to Kirk Yetholm. All that remained was for the hill parties on the English side to return to the Mounthooly.

A fantastic example of cross-border working with a really good outcome for all concerned. Many thanks to our colleagues form over the border for their assistance.

The incident involved 27 Team members for 4 hours 30 minutes.