Incident 72/2014 – Winter Hill

At 17:57 this evening we were contacted by the North West Ambulance Service (Air Desk) with the initial report of two walkers and some sheep apparently stuck in the marshes on the track between Rivington Pike and Winter Hill.

As team members began to respond to our vehicle bases and to the general vicinity of the incident, Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh obtained further details from the NWAS Air Desk.

The first responding team vehicle left our Ladybridge Hall Base/HQ at 18:13 and traveled to the summit mast road on Winter Hill, whereupon they met up with colleagues from Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue service, who were also responding to the same incident, and also to the report of two stuck and sinking sheep! Other team vehicles responded to this location and also to the base of Rivington Pike, with a view to finding the incident site on the 1.5 sq km of moorland lying between Rivington Pike & Winter Hill.

The GMFRS resouces attending included the Water Incident Unit from Eccles, who have specialist equipment and training for animal rescue incidents.


The two unfortunates!
The two unfortunates!

Also attending were colleagues from the North West Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, accompanied by their Polaris 6WD off-road vehicle.

Fortunately it quickly was established that the walkers were no longer in any danger and the incident turned to the recovery of the ovine pair, well stuck in the deep mud on the moor, and probably a feeling a little sheepish….. groan… sorry!


With team member Dave Cook on scene with the unstuck walkers and stuck sheep, all BMRT, GMFRS and NWAS resources were redirected to the area known as the “old toilet block” at the base of Rivington Pike. With team members and vehicles escorting NWAS and GMFRS onto the moor, providing local area knowledge and access through the locked gates, the sheep were soon extracted from of the peat bog in which they lay in a joint GMFRS / BMRT operation (we’ll not go into detail as to who was doing the pushing and who was doing the pulling).

All said and done, all resources left the moor and were stood down at around 19:40.