The man left Wooler for a mountain bike ride in the Cheviots. Photo: Lisa Jarvis CC-BY-SA-2.0

The man left Wooler for a mountain bike ride in the Cheviots. Photo: Lisa Jarvis CC-BY-SA-2.0

A major search is taking place for a missing mountain biker in the Cheviots near the Scotland-England border.

Rescuers are unsure where the man is, or even if he is still out on the hills.

Northumbria Police called out members of Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team at 11pm yesterday when David Bibby failed to return to his hotel in Wooler.

He told staff at the Black Bull he was going for a long mountain bike ride in the Cheviots and left at 9.15am, with the intention of returning for an evening meal at the pub.

The rescue team leader Iain Nixon said: “He was advised that given the prevailing weather conditions – storm-force winds and snow – that this might not be the best plan; nevertheless he headed off and has yet to return.”

Members of the Northumberland National Park MRT were joined by colleagues from North of Tyne MRT and Border Search and Rescue Unit in the hunt for the missing cyclist.

A Sea King search and rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland also joined the operation, with its crew using night-vision goggles and heat-seeking camera, covering a large area of the northernmost reaches of the Pennines.

Mr Nixon said: “The search is now moving into a second phase with more resources being drafted in.

“We are however concerned that the missing mountain biker has changed his plans and decided to stay overnight elsewhere. He has though left some articles of clothing at the Black Bull and also hasn’t paid his bill.”

Mr Bibby is aged between 40 and 50 and booked into the Black Bull on Wednesday afternoon. He is thought to be from Penrith, though that has not been confirmed, and is believed to have arrived on his bike, though it has yet to be confirmed if he has a car.

He has previously stayed in Wooler and gone on mountain biking trips.

He is described as being 5ft 10ins (1.78m), slim build and wearing cycling clothing. Anyone who may have seen Mr Bibby is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 1039 150115.

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