The runner was found at High Cup Nick in the northern Pennines. Photo: Bob Smith

The runner was found at High Cup Nick in the northern Pennines. Photo: Bob Smith

A competitor in the Montane Spine Race had to be stretchered from the fells after becoming disoriented in the dark.

Penrith Mountain Rescue Team was called out at 7am on Wednesday to High Cup Nick in the North Pennines to aid the 51-year-old runner.

She was found in a very cold, wet and tired condition on a ledge at the site east of Dufton on the Pennine Way. Kirkby Stephen MRT joined the operation to bring the ultrarunner to safety.

A Penrith MRT spokesperson said: “Once we had located the casualty, she was made secure, sheltered from the cold and strong winds and re-warmed.

“The casualty was then packaged into a stretcher and lowered off the steep ground and carried out along the valley floor.

“A huge thank you goes out to Raymond from Harbour Flatt who kindly drove his Gator into the valley to meet the stretcher and help with the casualty evacuation, plus all our bags.

“The casualty was taken to the Spine rest station at Dufton village hall.

“A big thank you for the hot drinks and bacon butties provided by the Post Box Pantry cafe in Dufton.

“Finally, thank you to Kirkby Stephen MRT for their assistance. Both teams worked together really well and we couldn’t have done it without you.”

The Spine Race is a multi-day endurance event along the full 268-mile length of the Pennine Way, starting at Edale in Derbyshire and ending at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

The race was won by John Kelly, with Eoin Keith in second place and Simon Gfeller and Wouter Huitzing in joint third place. As night fell on Thursday, 66 runners were still out on the hills, including first-placed woman Sabrina Verjee. So far, 76 people have retired from the event, which is due to finish at 8am on Sunday.

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