Mountain rescuers and medical staff at work during the incident at the waterfall. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

Mountain rescuers and medical staff at work during the incident at the waterfall. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

A woman was seriously injured when she fell into a ravine on the boundary of the Northumberland national park while walking her dogs.

The walker slipped near the edge of the Hareshaw Linn waterfall and fell 6m (20ft), taking her dogs over the edge with her.

Two mountain rescue teams, two rescue helicopters, ambulance staff and medics were involved in the rescue of the woman, which involved setting up a rope and pulley system to haul a stretcher up the waterfall, which lies at the bottom of a steep wooded ravine north of Bellingham.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were alerted about 12.05pm on Saturday and both teams made their way to the site on Hareshaw Burn.

A Northumberland National Park MRT spokesperson said: “The casualty and her dogs all fell the full height of the waterfall landing in the river below on rocks, sustaining serious injuries.

“The family of the casualty managed to find a safe route to the bottom of the waterfall and administered excellent first aid. Once the emergency services had arrived, the family took the injured dogs to the vets.

“The Bellingham rural paramedic attended to the casualty before being joined by the doctor-led team of the Great North Air Ambulance Service. The North East Ambulance Service hazardous area response team also assisted to stabilise the casualty.

“The mountain rescue teams set up and operated a technical rescue system, hauling the stretcher up a vertical rock face adjacent to the main waterfall by using ropes and pulleys to gain a mechanical advantage.

“This required rescuers to work within the confines of the upstream river with extremely slippery rocks underfoot.

The injured woman was stretchered to the Great North Air Ambulance. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

The injured woman was stretchered to the Great North Air Ambulance. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

“Once at the top of the waterfall, it was hoped that the Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick would have been able to winch the stretcher onboard. This was not possible and the stretcher was carried up the steep wooded slope out of the ravine and to the top of a nearby open field where both helicopters had landed.”

The GNAAS aircraft then flew the injured walker to Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne for further treatment.

The rescue team spokesperson said: “The incident demonstrated a fantastic multi-agency team effort and involved 12 mountain rescue volunteers for 3 hours and 20 minutes.”

The two teams were also alerted twice earlier in the week but were stood down before their help was needed. The first incident came about 4.45am on Wednesday when Northumbria Police requested assistance in the search for a high-risk missing man from the Westerhope area of Newcastle. The man was found as the teams were being contacted.

Later that day, police again asked for the teams’ help at 10.50pm when a walker was reported overdue in the College Valley in the Cheviots, close to the Scottish border.

A Northumberland NPMRT spokesperson said: “The walker in his 60s had left the Mounthooly Bunkhouse late morning to walk along the Border Ridge to Windy Gyle and back.

“When it became dark, the owner of the bunkhouse became increasingly concerned for the lone walker’s welfare and, quite rightly, phoned the police.

“The walker returned to the bunkhouse during the phone call from the police requesting mountain rescue assistance.”

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