Hypothermic runners rescued by cross-border teams near hill summit

The Spine Race is widely regarded as one of the world's toughest endurance races.

Hypothermic Spine Race runners rescued by cross-border teams on hilltop near Cheviot summit Border Search and Rescue Unit

Two hypothermic runners had to be rescued from a hut near the summit of a hill after being caught in overnight snow showers and biting winds during a race on the Pennine Way.

Shortly after 6am on Sunday, January 22, mountain rescue teams from both sides of the border were called out.

The runners, who were Spine Race competitors, were located in the Auchope refuge hut, a few kilometres west of the Cheviot summit.

The Spine Race, which is a winter ultramarathon stretching 268-miles from Edale, England to Kirk Yetholm, Scotland across the Pennine Way, is widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest endurance races.

The runners were assessed by Spine Race medics and were able to walk to the waiting Land Rover for onward transport to Kirk Yetholm.

A statement from the Borders Search and Rescue Team said: “So close to completing the 268-mile challenge, these participants were caught in overnight snow showers blown in on a biting wind as they attempted to navigate the icy slabs and snow-covered stony paths of the Pennine Way. Hats off to them for getting this far.

“The Border Ridge is an unforgiving place at this time of year as previous Spine participants can testify.”

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) added that it had been called out as it was decided that one of the competitors would potentially need to be stretchered off the hill.

NNPMRT said: “With the incident being on the border with Scotland, the Border Search and Rescue Unit as per our standard protocol were alerted. Five response vehicles and team members were swiftly mobilised, with the English side heading to the Mounthooly in the College Valley and the Scottish side heading to Cocklawfoot.

“Given the snow conditions there was uncertainty as to whether the 4×4 vehicles on the Scottish side would reach the hut; under good conditions it’s an absolute certainty. “Consequently hill parties with vital equipment were deployed on foot from south of Mounthooly on the English side of the border. The first hill party arrived at the hut shortly before the Land Rovers from the Scottish side. But thanks to some great off-road driving to reach the hut it meant that the evacuation was much simpler than would have otherwise been the case.

“Both competitors and the event safety team medic were then transported off the hill and driven round to Kirk Yetholm. All that remained was for the hill parties on the English side to return to the Mounthooly.

“A fantastic example of cross-border working with a really good outcome for all concerned. Many thanks to our colleagues form over the border for their assistance.”

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