Wednesday, December 6, 2023


A WALKER injured by a falling boulder and climbers stuck in challenging conditions were amongst the incidents the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team responded to over the Bank Holiday weekend. The Newcastle-based volunteers were called out three times within 24 hours, one of which evolved into a near nine-hour overnight operation. Fourteen team members rushed to the Annalong Valley on Monday morning, where a causally had suffered a serious lower limb injury after being crushed by a falling boulder. The previous night in rough weather they, along with the PSNI search and rescue team, went to the aid of three climbers who were crag-fast – unable to ascend or descend – on the Slieve Lamagan slabs. In this incident, the team was called out just after 10.30pm.

Outlining details of the incident, a spokesman for the local charity told its followers online: ‘The three had been making an ascent of a multi-pitch rock climbing route on the Lamagan slabs. ‘Initial communication suggested that the three had run into difficulty and as a result were stuck at different positions on the crag.

The team responded and due to the location, potential scale, and the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, requested the assistance of the Police Search and Rescue Team. ‘Shortly after, team members reached the top of the climb just below the summit of Slieve Lamagan and the first climber. Having reached the top of the route, the climber had made themselves safe and managed to secure the others, albeit suffering from and requiring treatment for exposure.’

He added that the team then proceeded to search the crag using rope systems, finding and hauling each of the two remaining climbers approximately 50 metres to the top. These two were also treated for exposure. ‘With the assistance of the Police Search and Rescue, the climbers were then evacuated off Slieve Lamagan to team vehicles and transfer for further care,” he continued, before adding that the 17 team members who responded were released from the scene at 7.20am.

This overnight call-out came just a few hours after 13 MMRT volunteers were called out to an incident in Rostrevor. At 2.27pm on 7 May the team was requested to help a walker who slipped and sustained a lower leg injury while descending a track in Kilbroney Park. This call-out concluded at 5pm.

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