The search involved 16 rescue team volunteers. Photo: NNPMRT

The search involved 16 rescue team volunteers. Photo: NNPMRT

A walker reported missing in the Cheviots managed to make his way to safety while a major search was underway.

The man’s wife contacted police on Sunday to say he was overdue from a walk in the hills near the England-Scotland border.

Volunteers from Northumberland Mountain Park Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team were called out late in the evening to begin looking for the missing man.

Iain Nixon, team leader for Northumberland team said: “It was past 9pm on Sunday evening and the walker was officially three hours overdue. Although conditions were clear, it was bitterly cold with a windchill at about -8C.”

While the teams were placed on standby, a hasty team made its way to the Harthope Valley to see if they could locate the man and his dog.

Keith Briggs, team leader for North of Tyne team, said: “With the walker’s location unknown and no phone signal, we knew we needed a full team callout. In addition to this we asked for the National Police Air Service’s assistance in searching from the air.”

A full-scale search of the area around The Cheviot began in earnest with team members searching until after 1am on Monday morning.

“After we’d cleared our initial search routes on the north side of the Harthope Valley, we began preparing plans to search towards the College Valley. However, a call came in from Northumbria police to say that the missing walker had been found.”

Rescuers said the man had become disoriented and descended into the wrong valley. He eventually came across a farm cottage in the College Valley and from there, called the police. A police vehicle drove around to bring him back to his car.

Once it was confirmed that he was safe and well, the mountain rescue volunteers were stood down. “Once again, another great example of multi-agency teamwork.” Mr Nixon said.

“The gentleman’s wife did the right thing in calling the police when he was overdue. Given the conditions, if he’d been out injured, the outcome could have been very different.”

This incident lasted just over 6¼ hours and involved 16 team members.

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