For the third time in just over a week, North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves responded to an incident in the Harthope Valley near Wooler on Sunday night. A walker and his dog had been reported overdue by their partner after they did not return home from a day’s walk in the hills of Northumberland National Park.
Working alongside Northumbria Police, our tactical command were able to identify the last known point of the walker. Earlier in the evening the walker was known to be in the Blackseat Hill area close to Scald Hill and his vehicle was also located at the entrance to the Harthope Valley. This information at least gave us a starter for one.
A hasty team was swiftly deployed to search the Hawsen Burn and up to Blackseat Hill before descending the New Burn. Our Toyota Hilux was also deployed to drive the main 4x4 track back over the moor from the Hawsen Burn below Cold Law to the Carey Burn Bridge. The National Police Air Service was requested to overfly the last known point and likely routes back towards the male’s vehicle.
Meanwhile a more detailed search strategy and plan was being developed ahead of other members arriving at the RVP. A further three search groups, a Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England team and a Landrover were deployed to search prioritised routes.
In the early hours of Monday morning with the search ongoing, the Police received a message that the missing walker had thankfully found their way safely off the hill into the College Valley. It would seem they became disoriented in the area of Blackseat Hill and Broadhope Hill and headed away from rather than towards the end of their intended route.
A Police van was dispatched to collect the walker from Goldscleugh cottage and once confirmed that the walker was safe and well, the Teams stood down.
The Teams would like to thank the couple who supported the male walker’s friends who had travelled to the area to assist. The couple even provided some food for the walker’s dog when he finally returned to his vehicle.
A good outcome for all concerned.
The incident involved 16 Team members for 6 hours 20 minutes.