Alan’s Diary – Callout 7.2.10
Sunday evening and I am just starting to think about getting things ready for the week ahead. Those children’s shoes won’t clean themselves! Suddenly I get a text message to say that there is a call out and to meet at base. At this stage we don’t find out what’s going on, but as its dark and cold, my bet is for a search of the Kinder plateau. I pack a flask of hot Vimto, just in case!
On my way to the base, I collect Darren, our Team Leader. He jumps in the car still on the phone to the controller, sorting out which teams are going to be involved in the callout. From the conversation, it looks like we have a man lost on the plateau. He has followed a route through the middle of the plateau, through Kinder gates and headed for the Downfall. However, in the mist he didn’t get to the downfall, came to a cliff and backed off, not knowing where he was. He then phoned Mountain Rescue and supplied us with a position from his GPS. Unfortunately, he had his GPS set to Latitude / Longitude, which is fine for sailing, but for it to mean any anything to us, we need it set to BNG (British National Grid), which give an OS map reference. Someone had managed to run the location through a conversion program and it was telling us he was somewhere in a boulder field below the Downfall. This didn’t really fit with the description he had given us, so we would have a few areas to search.
A section had been sent out to search the location given by his GPS and Ian had set out with Anya, his search dog. Buxton team were called to search the south side of the plateau and Glossop team were due to search from Snake pass. I was tasked in Kinder 2 and sent to search up Sandy Heys and on to the downfall.
As we started to head up the hill, it soon became very cold and we hit our first patch of serious snow. We moved in to the mist and the visibility went down to a few meters. The wind picked up and drove stinging sleet in to our faces, as we pushed on. Base had managed to contact the missing man on his mobile and found out that he had his thirteen year old son with him. This made thing a lot more serious. In order to stand a chance of finding someone, we need them to remain where they are. If they are roaming around the plateau, the chance of bumping in to them would be extremely slim. The downside of this is that waiting in one place in these conditions means you get very cold, very quickly.
We were downwind of the suspected location and kept hearing vague shouts blowing in on the wind. Another section who were below the casualties location were also hearing something, so we were starting to get close. As we moved along the edge path, we met up with Kinder 1, who had cleared the initial GPS reference area. We started to search on to the Downfall.
Soon after we heard a message from the search dog team to say that Anya had a strong indication of a scent. They followed her in, and soon located the casualties, cold, but safe.
They escorted them down to our Land Rovers and were taken back to the base to warm up. Before they left, the man thanked us all individually for our help. It was a nice gesture, and we were just as happy to be able to help when we were needed.
By now it was 1am and I had work in the morning. I needed some sleep, so the kids wouldn’t be getting their shoes cleaned tonight.