The men spent the night sheltering in an abandoned building on Gowk Hill

The men spent the night sheltering in an abandoned building on Gowk Hill

A walker with a broken ankle was rescued after spending the year’s longest night in a storm on a Lake District fell.

A major operation was launched this morning after his walking companion made his way to a farmhouse above Howtown, near Ullswater, to report the incident.

Farmers in the areas helped mountain rescuers after the air ambulance was unable to reach the stricken walker due to severe weather.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was called out about 9.15am after police were alerted by the call from the other walker.

A team spokesperson said: “At approximately 9am a hillwalker knocked on the door of a farmhouse just above Howtown, Ullswater, to report that his friend was lying injured on the mountainside.

“Seventeen hours earlier the man’s friend had fallen over fracturing his ankle. With darkness not far away, and with no mobile phone signal, the men chose to find shelter and spend the night on the mountain.

“They found a derelict building and set about making themselves as comfortable as possible to sit out the longest night of the year – without a doubt a very long night given the storm that pursued.

“At first light on Saturday morning the man’s friend descended to the valley to raise the alarm.”

The team used three of its Land Rover ambulances, with 15 volunteers taking part in the rescue.

The spokesperson said: “The Great North Air Ambulance attempted to assist but the atrocious weather prevented the helicopter from getting anywhere near.

“Team members therefore ascended the mountain with the help of the farmer who transported a stretcher and medical equipment as far as his quad bike would go.

“When the team arrived at the man’s location he was sheltering under a nylon sheet. He had poor circulation in his foot and the team treated him for severe pain and placed him a warm casualty bag.”

He was then stretchered for 90 minutes down the mountain to one of the Land Rovers, which had driven through a river to reach him.

He was then taken to a waiting ambulance.

The rescue lasted 4½ hours, following which the team spokesperson thanked the farmers who helped in the operation.

“Given the conditions their help was very much appreciated,” the spokesperson said.

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