'Wrong turning' teen prompts Newcastleton Forest search operation

image copyrightTweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team

A teenager who took a wrong turning while out for a late evening walk in a south of Scotland forest ended up prompting a major search operation.

The Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team was called out by police at about 02:15 to Newcastleton Forest.

They called out Moffat Mountain Rescue Team and put three other teams in northern England on standby.

The 17-year-old was eventually traced at about 06:00 having had a "bit of an epic" while trying to find his way.

image copyrightJim Barton
image captionThe search operation was concentrated on the Newcastleton Forest

Dave Wright, TVMRT team leader, said: "They had a rough idea that the person might be trying to get to a particular local landmark so we had a direction of travel.

"Unfortunately that led into Newcastleton Forest which expands beyond the Scottish border into England into the Kielder Forest and Kershope Forest as well."

They called out MMRT and asked Penrith Mountain Rescue Team, Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team to go on standby to assist with the search.

'No signal'

A Search and Rescue Dog Association dog was also sent to the scene.

"Very quickly you could take a wrong turn in that forest and end up going deeper and deeper into the woods," said Mr Wright.

"We believe the chap - from the information we had - was using his mobile phone for a torch and there was no signal on his phone.

"It looked like it was going to be quite a large scale incident if we didn't find him quickly."

However, the teenager was discovered - by chance - within about four hours of rescue teams being called out.

'Really lucky'

"The lad was found by a police dog handler who was returning back to Edinburgh having completed their task which was a search of the immediate area where the lad was staying," said Mr Wright.

"The dog handler found our missing person on the road - purely by chance - about 10 miles from where we were searching."

"I think he is really lucky that he was able to get himself onto a road but not only that a road that was being travelled by a police officer who happened to have been out looking for him."

A TVMRT statement added: "The missing person had taken a wrong turning in the forest and ended up having a bit of an epic in his attempt to re-orientate himself."

The teenager was cold and wet but "nothing more untoward than that" said Mr Wright.

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