Walkers rescued from Cheviot hills

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An elderly couple from Lancaster were airlifted to hospital by helicopter from the Cheviot hills after the male suffered a suspected stroke last night.

Borders Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU) were called out to the 60-year-old walker at about 7.30pm after the couple’s walk from Towford in the Kale Valley to Cocklawfoot Farm at the top of the Bowmont Valley went wrong.

For near the end the male suffered what is thought to have been a mild stroke and was unable to continue.

His 66-year-old companion set off with the couple’s six-month-old terrier Sam to find help and, with a failing mobile phone battery, dialled 999.

But when the team arrived on the hill, the man was not at Windy Gyle as reported. And the woman had since also become lost. The 14 rescuers then searched the Pennine Way

The unit’s Damon Rodwell said: “As dark was falling, the female was found, disorientated, cold, confused and frightened, wandering off-track on rough ground about a kilometre east of Windy Gyle. She was able to give only very sketchy details of where she had left her

companion, and the RAF Sea King Rescue (helicopter), already en route from Boulmer was

asked to conduct an aerial search.

“After about half an hour, the man was found, having mustered the strength to set off in search of help. The two walkers were about two miles apart and moving in divergent directions. Both required immediate evacuation, and were air-lifted to hospital.”

Deputy team-leader Stuart Fuller-Shapcott, who was in the lead group and found

the female walker said: “With confused information coming in, the onset of darkness, a potentially very serious medical casualty and the fact that the walkers had expected to be finished well before nightfall and may be without torches and adequate clothing, we knew this was an urgent one.

“It was a very satisfying result. It looked like it could turn into a very protracted search, and we had two neighbouring teams ready to join us. Tweed Valley MRT were already well on their way to Cocklawfoot with a large contingent, and Northumberland MRT were on standby.

“A tragedy was averted by the quick response and professionalism that we train for all-year-round.”

And Sam the terrier stayed with the Fuller-Shapcotts near Kelso, cared for by Stuart’s wife Gayle, also a BSARU member who is a veterinary nurse.