One of the Tweed Valley vehicles en route to the sledging incident. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

One of the Tweed Valley vehicles en route to the sledging incident. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

Two mountain rescue teams were called out to search for missing runners in one of Britain’s toughest races.

Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team was called in to help the neighbouring Border Search and Rescue Unit after two groups of competitors in The Spine were reported overdue.

The race, a non-stop mountain marathon covering the whole 431km (268-mile) length of the Pennine Way, was this year run in severe winter conditions with heavy snow, winds and poor visibility.

The Tweed Valley team was already providing safety cover for the Feel the Burns fell race at Selkirk on Saturday when it received a request for help from the Border team.

Dave Wright, the team’s press officer said: “The race is an arduous 13.7-mile event taking in some of the higher points in Selkirkshire including Peat Law, Three Brethren, Brown Knowe and Foulshiel Hill.

“Given that the route was covered in snow and heavy showers were passing through the area, it looked as though it may be a busy day for the team. It was a busy day, but not because of the 137 runners taking part in the race.

An equine interloper joins rescuers as they are briefed at The Spine rescue. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

An equine interloper joins rescuers as they are briefed at The Spine rescue. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

“At 10.30am, the team received a request for assistance from Border Search and Rescue Unit who were attempting to locate two missing groups of competitors from The Spine Race.

“TVMRT deployed five personnel and one vehicle immediately to the Cheviots leaving sufficient cover for the Feel the Burns event.

“On arrival at the rendezvous point south of Kirk Yetholm, the TVMRT members were tasked to search a remote valley.

“Fortunately a search team already on the hill was eventually able to contact the group of competitors and TVMRT remained to see them safely off the hill before returning to Selkirk.”

After returning to the Feel the Burns the team was contacted by police at 2pm requesting they help the Scottish Ambulance Service with two casualties from a sledging incident in Selkirk.

Mr Wright said: “A 29-year-old man and his daughter, seven, had been sledging on a local hill where their sledge had veered off course and collided with a park bench.

“Both father and daughter had lower limb fractures and because of the steep slope. The team utilised their MacInnes stretchers which are specially designed for this terrain.”

One of the team's vehicles at The Spine search area. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

One of the team's vehicles at The Spine search area. Photo: Tweed Valley MRT

The local race ended without incident with all 137 runners returning safely.

“All profits from the race are being donated to TVMRT,” Mr Wright said. “The race organisers have advised that the donation will be in the region of £1,000 for which TVMRT is very appreciative.

Team leader Steve Penny added: “This was a busy day for the team and fortunately we were in a position to respond very quickly to both incidents.

“We are extremely grateful to all those who took part in the Feel the Burns event and raised such a tremendous amount for the team and would like to thank, in particular, the organisers.”

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