Pennine Way, near Back Hag

18 January 2024

Two members of the Team who had swapped their ‘red jackets’ to be part of the Spine Safety Team alerted our Team Leader of a potential incident on the border ridge, north of The Schil. A competitor in the Challenger North event had succumbed to the extreme cold – it had been -10C overnight! Unable to move Mountain Rescue’s assistance was required to evacuate the competitor from the hill.

As the official request for Mountain Rescue went through Police Scotland and Northumbria Police, a cross-border response involving Border Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU), North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves was initiated. With the location on the border with Scotland, the standard procedure is to respond from both sides.
The College Valley Estate very kindly transported three members and vital live saving equipment up from Mounthooly in their Argocat and 4×4 to the incident site. While BSARU approached from Sourhope in the Bowmont Water valley in two of their Landrovers.

Once the competitor was stabilised, she was packaged on a stretcher for a short carry over a stone wall to the Scottish side of the border. From there the casualty and one of our Medics to provide continuity of care were transported down in one of the Landrovers to the finish in Kirk Yetholm. Some members had to then endure a walk off the hill as the sun was rising and lighting up the magnificent Cheviot Hills.

We would like to thank a fellow competitor and the Spine Safety Team for their efforts in ensuring the casualty’s condition did not deteriorate, and to the College Valley Estate who as ever went above and beyond to help us out.

The incident involved 22 Team members for 6 hours 15 minutes.