Mr Harvey was brought to the Tan Hill Inn after heading towards Keld. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mr Harvey was brought to the Tan Hill Inn after heading towards Keld. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The 80-year-old walker who was found safe and well after spending three nights on the Yorkshire Dales fells said he had had three good nights wild camping.

His daughter-in-law Naomi Harvey said: “He’s had a blast; we’ve had a nightmare.”

Harry Harvey flagged down a passer-by on Tuesday after a major search by more than 100 mountain rescue volunteers on the moors above Swaledale. He was then brought in a mountain rescue Land Rover to the Tan Hill Inn to be reunited with his son and daughter-in-law.

The family were preparing for a press conference to renew appeals for help finding the Tynemouth man when they received the news he had been discovered safe and well.

Photographer Annette Pyrah spotted the missing walker waving from the fell when she was travelling from Tan Hill towards Keld.

Mr Harvey, sporting a bandage on his forehead from a fall, spoke to journalists at the Tan Hill Inn, saying he had set out with a companion on Saturday intending to wild camp on the hills overlooking upper Swaledale.

He said: “I got separated by getting caught in a really heavy hailstorm and howling gale of wind.

“By the time I got my kit on, it was getting really dark so I missed my turning.

“I had plan B straight away: find somewhere safe to camp, put my tent up, get sorted out, keep warm.”

He said he wasn’t worried as he had all the kit and all the training. “I had three good nights wild camping.” He said his main concern was running low on food. “I’ve got a hell of an appetite and when I get hungry I’ve got to eat or I cannot go anywhere.”

Others from the group who had gone walking in the area raised the alarm on Sunday afternoon when Mr Harvey failed to show up. Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team led the initial searches, along with members of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service who were already in the area.

A police helicopter joined the operation and the search numbers were bolstered by more than 100 volunteers from search and rescue teams across the North of England, along with 13 search dogs and their handlers.

Mr Harvey said he was unaware of the extent of the search. He said: “I’d seen two or three persons, whether or not they were anything to do with the search team, because they weren’t wearing the red kit. I thought they were just Joe Public.

“I used my whistle for the distress call, but to no avail.”

He began heading for Keld, the village at the head of Swaledale, but was concerned he wouldn’t be able to get home. “The biggest problem I had was getting to Tynemouth from Keld because I only had £21.05 in my pocket.”

His only injury was the bump to his forehead after he slipped crossing a beck by a tree-trunk bridge, during which he fell and hit his head, losing his compass and glasses, the latter of which he was able to retrieve.

After being told by his son Phil he was grounded, he replied: “I’ve just bought some new boots.”

Harry Harvey said of the mountain rescue volunteers: “I cannot thank them enough. Brilliant organisation. Really good, and I thank them very much for what they’ve done.”

  • The Tan Hill Inn posted footage of Mr Harvey talking to journalists.

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