Spithopehead, Byrness

15 October 2021

A female walker reported herself lost near to Spithope Bothy to the north of Byrness. The female thought she was within 10 minutes of the bothy. Whilst uninjured, she was disorientated and starting to get cold. A 999 call to Northumbria Police led to Mountain Rescue being activated.

Having just arrived back from the World Extreme Medicine course, two members in our 4x4 response vehicle on blue lights were immediately deployed from Rothbury, whilst our Duty Controller liaised with the Police and the female walker. Information received from the female suggested she might be much lower down the hill than the bothy having taken the wrong forest track. She was now no longer on a track and with no torch it was unsafe to proceed. Our Duty Controller advised her that help was on its way and that she should stay where she was.

Unfortunately the female did not have a Smartphone and technologies such as PhoneFind, OS Locate or W3W could not be used to gain a more accurate location.

Thankfully the Police helicopter, NPAS 32, had also been deployed and after a 30 minute search the female was located from the air. By this stage our Mountain Rescue resources were in the area and NPAS directed our two volunteer members, who were now on foot, into the female’s location. Her location was well off a forest track in the middle of the forest in a small, very boggy clearing. The route to her through the forest was a little bit challenging!

The female was then walked back to our vehicle and debriefed, before the Police drove back to her Byrness.

Without the fantastic support of the NPAS helicopter, the incident would not have been resolved so swiftly. It was a great spot from the air.

The incident involved 3 Team members for 2 hours 20 minutes. A further 8 Team members were on standby.