Team’s last Wednesday exercise of 2013…. and it’s a stormy one to begin with!

With a forecast of very strong winds and accompanying heavy rain, where best to hold our last Wednesday evening exercise of 2013 than on the top of the highest (and quite exposed) hill in our area, the aptly named Winter Hill.

We were faced with a scenario of two hill walkers out for an evening walk, one of whom had hurt their ankle, to then loose their bearings and get lost in the bad weather, somewhere on the steep north escarpment of Winter Hill overlooking Belmont.

The team assembled on the very summit of Winter Hill, thanks to the Transmitter Station road, at 20.05hrs to be blasted on arrival with horizontal driving rain and then a hailstorm.

In fact conditions were so bad initially that the evening briefing took place over the vehicle radios with all members keeping dry (and warm !) in the six team vehicles present.

Two search parties of ten and eleven members were despatched out in to the torrential rain, with a stretcher support party of five also despatched.

With the help of SARLOC guiding in the searchers, our two hapless ‘exercise’ casualties were found within 50 minutes – Support Group members Laura Tunnicliffe and Gary Melia having kindly volunteered to be the missing two hill walkers, watched over by Team member Paul Chisholm for safety purposes.

Laura was soon diagnosed with a none weight bearing ankle injury, whilst Gary was deemed able to be walked off.

Laura was stretchered from her location at the foot of the Winter hill escarpment back up the steep slope to the waiting vehicles and warmth and dryness on this very wet night.

By the exercise conclusion at 21.45hrs, the skies had cleared, the wind had abated somewhat and the storm had passed, but not before all the hill parties had got a good soaking.

In total 33x Team Call Out list members were present on the exercise this evening, two members of our Support Group (Thanks Laura and Gary) Dani Burgess from NEWSAR, and one person interested in joining the team.

All then concluded this wet evenings exercise with a drink in the warmth of the Jolly Crofters Public House on Chorley Old Road – well a night like this beats staying in and watching telly!!!!