Upper Coquetdale

11 February 2021

The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust requested the assistance of Mountain Rescue yesterday to reach a patient in a remote farm house in Upper Coquetdale. The farm house was inaccessible due to the heavy snow which had fallen over previous days.

Vehicles were swiftly deployed by North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and ourselves and members from both Teams were then called out. Our Toyota Hilux, callsign Curlew Echo, progressed as far as it could before a hasty team was then deployed on foot.

On arrival at the remote farmhouse, the patient was assessed by a Team Medic and the decision was taken to request the Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter from Prestwick to help us evacuate the individual to hospital. While the helicopter was flying to the scene, additional members made their way on foot and skis to the farmhouse to assist with the stretcher carry to the helicopter. A landing site was also identified and strobe lights used to identify it.

Thankfully Rescue 199 from Prestwick was able to land on after some superb flying by the pilot in very difficult conditions. The snow plumes caused by the helicopter downdraft were something to be seen.

The patient was then carried to the awaiting helicopter for a short onward flight to hospital. All that remained was for our volunteer Team members to make their way the 1.5 miles through deep snow back to our vehicles or so we thought! Due to the depth of the snow on the tracks we did need a little helping hand from a tractor to get back out. Thankfully one of the Team members had a tractor to hand!

We would like to wish the individual well and hope that they make a swift and full recovery.

The incident involved 24 Team members for 7 hours 10 minutes.