TWO elderly walkers were rescued late at night by a helicopter after being stranded on a hillside near the Scotland-England border.

The men, both in their 60s, had become disorientated in the dense clag and poor visibility in the Cheviot Hills a couple of weeks ago.

After several hours lost they managed to pinpoint their position on Cairn Hill which was just a few hundred metres west of the Cheviot summit.

However, by this time the older man’s long standing medical condition had flared up and the pair’s sheer exhaustion persuaded them to make a 999 call to Mountain Rescue.

Due to the poor visibility, the use of a helicopter to assist in the operation was initially ruled out.

Nineteen members of the Border Search and Rescue Unit set off from the top of the Bowmont Valley on the Scottish side and had to trudge across sodden ground and deep snow making their way onto the border ridge at Windy Gyle in case the walkers had headed in that direction.

However shortly before midnight the cloud thinned sufficiently for a Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer to ferry a couple of searchers and a dog from the Northumberland side onto the 770 metre high Cairn Hill.

A spokesman for BSARU said: “The walkers were located about 500 metres from the summit and evacuated by helicopter.

“The BSARU volunteers who had made it onto the hill were withdrawn and re-assembled eventually at Sourhope with the rest of the team.” The two walkers, who were relatively unscathed from their ordeal, had set off from the Ingram Valley in Northumberland for their walk in the Cheviots.

But having got lost in the darkness they used a fence as a navigational handrail.

Unfortunately for them it was a relatively new fence which was not marked on their map, which served to add to their confusion and disorientation before they came across a finger-post for Cairn Hill.