Swinner Gill, SwaledaleRescuers have praised a couple who ran 5km (3 miles) to raise the alarm after seeing a man fall in a remote Yorkshire Dales gorge.

Swinner Gill, Swaledale

Denise Pickard and Dave Clarke saw the 50-year-old walker summersault down the hillisde and hit his head on a rock after the fall in Swinner Gill, Swaledale. They ran and walked for an hour until they were able to get a mobile phone signal at the village of Gunnerside and ring 999.

The unnamed man, from Kent, was airlifted to hospital, suffering from head injuries and a badly broken leg.

The couple explained that they were walking on a higher route when they saw the man fall about 30m (100ft) down a crag. He was with a party of walkers.

They told the Northern Echo that it was obvious his colleagues could give him immediate aid. Ms Pickard said: “We decided we could do more good by getting proper help.”

The pair, who are both trained first-aiders, noted the grid reference and went to summon help, checking their mobile signal every few metres. Ms Pickard said: “It felt awful just running in the opposite direction of somebody who clearly needed us.”

But their actions could have averted disaster, according to Dave Rutter of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team. He said: “They did a really impressive job.

"Thanks to their quick thinking, we were able to get to the casualty in good time.

"He was extremely lucky that Ms Pickard and Mr Clark were there at the right time. They did absolutely the right thing."

Two teams from the Swaledale MRT made their way to the accident site to find the man unconscious. The team doctor treated him for serious multiple injuries before he was raised, using ropes and a stretcher, 400m to the waiting Great North Air Ambulance.

He was then taken to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. His condition is described as ‘comfortable’.