Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team were called upon to deal with a number of incidents over the Tour de France Weekend, as the route past over the biggest climb of the Yorkshire Grand Départ.
The team was in attendance on Holme Moss for the entire weekend, setting up its base of operations within the fenced compound around the Holme Moss Transmitter Station.
At 7.00 am on the Sunday morning, as spectators we already gathering, the team began to deploy members and vehicles at strategic locations on the route between Holme Village and Holme Moss summit to be on hand to deal with any emergencies.
The weather remained fair as the flow of spectators arriving on scene continued throughout the day, burgeoning to over 60,000 at their peak.
As the morning progressed, various members of the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue team were called upon to deal with minor cuts and scrapes, but as the race was beginning the ascent of the Holme Moss road, a more serious incident occurred and a fell party was dispatched to stabilise a gentleman who had collapsed in the road on the way up to the summit.
Team members and paramedics stabilised the casualty by the roadside until the race had passed and he was able to be evacuated.
Shortly after the race passed, the weather turned – bringing heavy rain. HVMRT members distributed ponchos and foil blankets to some members of the crowd who were less equipped to deal with the conditions.
During the exodus from the hill, a gentlemen landed heavily after climbing over a wall and presented himself at HVMRT’s Land Rover, unable to bear weight on his right foot. The gentleman was treated at the scene for a suspected ankle fracture, which was splinted under analgesia and he was then evacuated to the roadside to wait for an available ambulance to transport him to hospital.
During this time, a member of the public approached team members at the Land Rover, reporting that a companion had suffered an ankle injury on a footpath south of Holme Village. A fell party was dispatched with equipment to locate the casualty and assess what transpired to be a second lower-leg fracture.
The initial casualty was presently transferred to an ambulance and HVMRT’s Land Rover proceeded to the scene of the second. In order to get within proximity of the casualty site, the vehicle had to be employed to move temporary barriers put in place blocking access to Rake Head Road. It then dispatched a second fell party with a stretcher, analgesia and splints to stabilise the casualty.
The casualty was then evacuated along a footpath by stretcher to a waiting ambulance to be transferred to Hospital.
At around 19.00 most of the crowds had dispersed and the team be can to dismantle its position at Holme Moss summit and decamp.
The following day, as team members were sorting and drying gear from the weekend back at headquarters, an elderly gentleman was spotted sitting outside. He appeared confused and was invited into HQ for a cup of tea and biscuits.
Team members managed to establish his identity, and upon enquiry to the police it was revealed he had been reported missing for two days from his home over 20 miles away. The missing man had no knowledge as to how he arrived at HVMRT’s HQ in Marsden, but was able to be returned home.
A team spokesman said “This is a pretty amazing little story – it’s the first time in the team’s history, as far as I’m aware, that a missing person has come and found us!”.
Unrelated to the cycle race, a further incident occurred later on Monday evening, when the team attended a lady who had collapsed whilst walking her dog on Meltham Moor. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of team members, paramedics and the crew of the Air Ambulance, the casualty was unable to be revived.
Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team would like to pass on their deepest sympathies to her friends and family at this difficult time.
The team would also like to thank Soul Kitchen in Holmfirth and Rocar Moores Land Rover, Huddersfield for their assistance over the weekend, Soul Kitchen generously provided free food for team members, and Rocar Moores provided an auxiliary vehicle to help the team manage the event.