When disaster strikes it’s a good thing to have a 1000-miler on hand…
It was a beautiful day for a badger meet (as a coming together of 1000-milers is called): the sky was blue and Guy Brindle was leading an inter-county meetup on Bodmin Moor. Jay Mistry was in the south-west down from Huddersfield working and had a day to spare. A perfect opportunity for an ascent of county top Brown Willy, and so it proved – notwithstanding the cold – 2-3 deg C reckoned Guy, with 30mph winds driving the chill factor way down. “A beautiful walk and amazing skies!” enthused Jay afterwards.
But it was on the way down – with thoughts turning to some indoor Cornish warmth – that the walk took an unexpected turn, as our badgers encountered a couple – ‘A man and a woman not altogether dressed for moorland walking’ in Guy’s estimation. And as if to prove the point the gent promptly slipped on a patch of frigid mud. “We heard the leg break” relates Guy; “😬” concurred Jay; “I can still hear the sound now”.
It was no moment for hesitation for 57-year-old Guy, trained in triage and paramedic care during his days in the Air Force. “A cursory light fingertip assessment confirmed the break and we made the patient as comfortable as possible while we called in the Air Ambulance” he says.
It was a 12 minute wait for the helicopter, but with winds gusting up the slopes of Brown Willy “It was touch and go for landing” reckoned Guy, observing the chopper was on his limits with wind. But down came the red-and-white bird as Jay videoed cool-as-a-cucumber Guy giving the pilot the signals he remembered from his RAF days.
He makes it sound not incredibly hairy, but we’re not entirely sure! –
“These air ambulances need 60 metres clear in all directions to be safe. Bigger helicopters means more room. You always let the crew come to you, not the other way around and you stand still until signalled by the pilot or crew to move. Standing in front of helicopters with rotors turning is dangerous as the blades are dipping towards the ground in any case.”
Once landed the team’s three paramedics took over. “We just gave the thumbs up to the patient, said goodbye to the wife, who gave us all a hug, and completed our very enjoyable walk” says Guy.
Clearly such an incident called for a debrief and equally clearly whirly-bird-waver Guy is the man to do it: “The moral is people have to take proper footwear and clothing on walks on lowland moors, and take proper account of the weather. All of us felt that it could have been avoided with proper boots. Prepare for the worst scenario and you will be OK. Our party all had phones, electronic maps, OS Maps. We didn’t split up, walked as fast as the slowest walker and always did a head count”. Model badgers all round!
Watch the video, which for obvious reasons we couldn’t entitle ‘Hairy chopper Brown Willy landing’.
Pics and video by Jay.