A couple of teenage walkers were returned to their family last night by Northumberland Mountain Rescue Service after they lost their way in the dark on the Pennine Way.
The man and woman, both 18 years old, had planned to walk the Pennine Way from north to south, but setting out late has missed their turning and could not find their way to their rendezvous point.
The young couple had carefully planned their trip and were well-equipped for all eventualities, but parents who were acting as outriders had contacted the Police earlier in the evening to say they were concerned for the two walkers and their dog, who had not arrived at the designated meeting point, Blindburn in the Upper Coquet valley, by the agreed time.
The police had also received a 999 call from the walkers confirming they were indeed lost. They had been heading west along the Border Ridge and had climbed Mozie Law and Beefstand Hill, before turning south towards Blindburn to meet with their family.
A hill team and two mountain rescue search dog teams were deployed as part of an initial limited response; the hill team searching the ridge north from Carlcroft farm towards Beefstand Hill and the search dogs, the Blindburn towards Lamb Hill and then Beefstand Hill.
The walkers were located by the hill team at approximately 00.30 hours, safe and well, if not tired and slightly cold. They were sensibly keeping warm in a bivvy bag near the summit of Carlcroft Hill just over a kilometre from the valley road and only 1.5 km from their intended finishing point.
Although it was a clear night in the heart of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, with a great view of the Milky Way curving across a sky full of stars, both were very pleased to see the mountain rescuers and the young woman certainly appreciated the additional layer of the Mountain Rescue England & Wales provided insulated jackets.
They were escorted off the hill to their awaiting car and relieved parents and younger sister. After a good night’s sleep the walkers intend to continue with their Pennine Way journey albeit after an eventful and memorable first day.
Northumberland Mountain Rescue Service, comprises Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team. Eight team members and two search dogs were involved in the incident which lasted 2.5 hours in total; everyone was safely off the hill by 01.00 hrs.
Iain Nixon, Deputy Team Leader, Northumberland National Park MRT said: “This young couple are to be congratulated at being well equipped with maps and warm gear, and for and using torches and a whistle to attract the attention of the mountain rescuers as the hill team approached. This can make a big difference to survival if someone is injured.
“Although it’s late summer, nights in the hills are already cold and it’s easy to miss signposts in the dark. These walkers did just the right thing in making sure someone was expecting them who could raise an alarm when they didn’t appear.”