Pennine Way walkers had to be rescued after map mishap

Windy Gyle, south of Yetholm.
Windy Gyle, south of Yetholm.

Two women suffering from heat exhaustion were rescued by Border Search and Rescue Unit members on the Pennine Way south of Yetholm on Saturday.

Crew members were just setting off home from Kelso after a helicopter training exercise at Charterhall airfield, near Greenlaw in Berwickshire, when they were alerted to the plight of the pair, both in their 50s, by police.

The walkers, said to be unable to continue after reaching Windy Gyle, were part of a party of 10 which had set off that morning from Langleeford, south west of Wooler in Northumberland, to take part in a charity walk.

Navigational errors resulted in the pair ending up on the hillside on one of the hottest days of the year so far for much longer than anticipated, said a spokesman for the unit.

He added: “The group was carrying just a single map and, after a disagreement, they split up, with two descending on the Scottish side of the border, the two casualties and a friend hunkering down on the ridge and the remaining five continuing to their start-point on the English side.”

The women were taken to the Border Hotel in Yetholm to be checked over by Scottish Ambulance Service staff.

They were suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, but after rehydration and rest, they were able to return home.

“It was a pretty straightforward job for us,” said team leader Stuart Fuller Shapcott.

“The excellent ground conditions meant that were able to get a vehicle very close to where it was needed, allowing a very simple evacuation.

“The callout demonstrates perfectly a couple of the cardinal rules of heading into the hills – carry a map and know how to use it.

“Just as mountain weather can be dangerous in the winter, a long day on the hills in the height of summer can be just as risky.

“Heat injury is a much under-estimated hazard and can be just as lethal as hypothermia. The onset can be sudden and symptoms can develop faster.

“When heading into the hills in the summer, it is essential that you carry enough water, loose light clothing, a sun-hat and sunblock.”