TEAMS from Northumbria Mountain Rescue Service have responded to two seperate cycling incidents at Kielder Water in the past two days.

Shortly after 1.30pm on Thursday, June 25, Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams were called by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to assist a cyclist who had fallen and injured themselves at Kielder Water. 

While the teams were being mobilised, the Community Paramedic, assisted by a member from the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, assessed, treated and stabilised the casualty. The woman had sustained serious injuries resulting from the fall, but was wearing a helmet which helped to reduce the seriousness of these injuries.

Kielder Water is in the far west of both teams’ operating area and getting rescuers across can be a challenge. But within an hour of the call going out, team members began to arrive.

Any other day, this type of call-out would be relatively straightforward, but the incident was made more complex because of the need for team members to don protective PPE before handling the casualty.

With temperatures reaching 28 degrees, the volunteers put on latex gloves, face masks, visors and waterproof jackets to help protect themselves, their teammates and the casualty.

Will Close-Ash, a volunteer with the team, said: “This was my first call-out since the pandemic started, so I was a bit nervous about getting into my PPE.

"However, both teams have spent a lot of time training members on how to put on and take off their equipment and how to manage any anxiety around operating in a Covid-19 environment. I felt completely safe”.

Using team vehicles to gain access to the forest, the volunteers reached the casualty and transported her by stretcher to a waiting NEAS ambulance, all whilst maintaining strict PPE protocols and social distancing.

Once the casualty was safely onboard the ambulance, the team members could then begin the lengthy process of de-contamination and cleaning of themselves and equipment.

The incident lasted just under four hours and involved 25 volunteers.

 The team were then mobilised again today (Friday, June 26) to the same area to assist NEAS with another mountain biker, again with serious injuries, who needed evacuating.

Team leader Iain Nixon said:“We wish both casualties a speedy recovery. It was great team work by all concerned in very hot conditions and I’d like to thank our colleagues in NEAS.

"I think that as we head towards summer, the public need to remember that if they do need us there is an additional wait-time while our members don PPE because of the extra risk that Covid-19 presents.”

Many of the team's main sources of income have temporarily dried up during the coronavirus pandemic, with collecting tins behind closed doors and outdoor challenge events cancelled.

It costs on average £40k a year to keep the Team operational.

Dontations can be made to the team via their Facebook page, website or Justgiving page,