The search was sparked by a concerned relative. Photo: NNPMRT

The search was sparked by a concerned relative. Photo: NNPMRT

Rescuers spent more than six hours searching for a missing walker in the North Pennines, who turned out not to be missing.

The walker was oblivious to the large operation that had been sparked when a relative reported concerns that the walker’s phone ‘ping’ had remained stationary for 24 hours.

The relative had been tracking the man, in his 40s, and was concerned for his welfare.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and colleagues from the North of Tyne Mountain team were called out to the College Valley.

A Northumberland National Park MRT spokesperson said: “A hasty party of local mountain rescue members, two mountain rescue vehicles and the National Police Air Support travelled to the College Valley, while other members of NNPMRT and NOTMRT were initially placed on standby before being deployed to rendezvous in Wooler. Border Search and Rescue Unit was also placed on standby.

“Low cloud over the summits meant that NPAS could not reach the ‘phone ping’ location and consequently the teams’ assistance would be required.

“As the incident progressed, it became apparent that the missing Polish walker had more than likely spent the night at the Mounthooly bunkhouse and had left in the morning, fit and well. Once this information was confirmed, the majority of the mountain rescue teams’ members were stood down.

“The hasty party, at the request of the police, then undertook a limited search in and around the location of the phone ping on the northerly slope of Auchope Cairn, just below the summit.

“After a hasty search of the lower to mid-section of the Hen Hole and the route from Auchope shelter to Auchope Cairn had been conducted, with nothing found, the hasty party headed back to the mountain rescue Land Rover in the valley.

“Soon after it was confirmed that the walker had safely returned to Mounthooly having walked to Windy Gyle and back, totally oblivious about what had been going on.

Team members on the hill during the search. Photo: NNPMRT

Team members on the hill during the search. Photo: NNPMRT

“While the walker was never actually missing, the incident was as a result of a well meaning relative who was concerned for their welfare.”

The incident involved eight team members for 6½ hours and another 16 rescuers were on their way to Wooler when they were stood down.

The rescuers were called out again for a walker in her 70s who injured her ankle while with a well equipped group of nine near Ravensheugh, close to Simonside.

The spokesperson said: “A hasty team from the Rothbury area was deployed in a 4×4 vehicle. At the same time, the group continued with their ’self-rescue’ making progress towards Simonside. The group was met by the mountain rescue members as they reached a drive-able track.

“The injured walker was assessed by a mountain rescue medic before being warmed and then evacuated in the 4×4 vehicle. The other members of the party were also transported off the hill with the assistance of the police.

“One of the doctors from the Rothbury practice assisted by checking over the injured walker once she had been safely evacuated from the hill.”

Six team members were involved in the two-hour rescue.

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