The search took place across a large area of the national park. Photo: NNPMRT

The search took place across a large area of the national park. Photo: NNPMRT

Rescuers searching for a missing hillwalker in the Cheviot Hills discovered the body of the man.

The operation to find the 85-year-old took place over two days and involved 45 volunteer mountain rescuers across a large area of the Northumberland national park.

Neil Cowking, who was on holiday in the area, was reported missing on Sunday after setting out from a caravan park near Powburn.

Volunteers from Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team were joined by a national park ranger, local estate workers and shepherds to search for Mr Cowking in the Breamish Valley.

A spokesperson for the Northumberland National Park team said the body was found on Monday morning when the search resumed. “Our thoughts are with the walker’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank the local community, the national park authority and the Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England dog teams for the support received over the two days.”

Northumbria Police said a man’s body was found about two miles west of Ingram, on the eastern edge of the national park.

“Formal identification is yet to take place but we believe the body is that of Neil Cowking,” police said. “His family have been notified.”

Superintendent Brad Howe said: “This is an extremely tragic outcome and our thoughts remain with Neil’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped with the search, including the mountain rescue team who greatly assisted throughout the weekend and today, as well as those who came forward with information.”

Police said they do not believe there was any third party involvement and once formal identification has been completed a report will be prepared for the coroner.

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