For Your Safety

Safety Advice for Visitors in College Valley.

We do not believe that the Valley is an inherently dangerous place, but it is remote and can be wild.  We think that visitors should bear the following principal points in mind:

  1. The road further than the car park at Hethpool is private. We aim to minimise traffic by asking visitors to leave their cars here unless they are resident or possess a permit. We ask all drivers on our roads to drive with care and at low speed.  The terrain and climate mean that occasionally rocks can roll from adjacent slopes and end up on the road surface, presenting an obstacle.  Livestock, timber lorries, pot holes, farm traffic and visitors with their pets can all present further hazards which are best avoided by low speed.  The roads can be particularly dangerous in icy and snowy conditions.  We would ask all car drivers to stay on metalled roads and avoid the unmetalled tracks and fields.
  2. The rolling, convex nature of the hills of the north Pennines can lull visitors into the impression that the climatic conditions are always benign. Do not be misled. Weather conditions can degrade with alarming speed, and it is all too easy to fall to hypothermia in these hills if you are not adequately equipped.

Remember that most problems arise from a combination of factors: for example a slight lack of preparation/inadequate equipment plus worse than expected conditions, followed by a mishap (eg. twisted ankle).  Removing the factors under one’s control in advance massively improves the chances of a safe return.

We suggest that all hill walkers:

– prepare adequately by making sure that they carry adequate waterproof and warm clothing, as well as a waterproofed map, compass, torch, charged mobile phone and food if appropriate.

– check the weather forecast before they leave.

– plan their route with regard to their capabilities and the weather.

– tell someone (or leave a note) of their intended route and timings if going a significant distance.

If you get lost, remember that all the water from the estate flows past Hethpool: following water downhill will allow you to find people.  There is also a Mountain Rescue Hut on the ridge below Cheviot south of Mounthooly, which allows you to get shelter.

If you have concerns that a member of your party is lost, then we would suggest that you contact Stephen Crees at Whitehall or Mark Crees at Mounthooly in the first instance. To phone Mountain Rescue, dial 999, ask for POLICE then MOUNTAIN RESCUE. In an emergency in the mountains, they can always get to you (often an ambulance can’t).

  1. Mobile coverage in the Valley is patchy and changeable. Generally a network can be found within 500 metres, and most likely towards the top of the hills.
  2. Please do read the notes on this site on dogs in the Valley if you are bringing a pet. We would repeat the following here for emphasis: please NEVER approach cattle with a dog on a lead.
  3. Please check yourself (and pets) for ticks after leaving the hill. If you remove a tick and subsequently feel ill, take medical advice.
  4. If you are coming to the Valley in the winter season in order to stay in a cottage or the bunkhouse, please check the weather forecast for snow before you leave home. If you have any doubts then please check with your contact in the valley (Catherine, Ros, Charlene or Stephen) before setting out. Approximately one year in five, we get a snow event which cannot be cleared from the roads immediately.
  5. Should you wish to swim in any of the pools in the streams, please check for depth and rocks before jumping in or allowing young children to do the same.
  6. The Valley is home to forestry and farm operations which sometimes involve the use of very heavy plant. Please do not approach working equipment if you can avoid it. If you cannot, then please make absolutely sure that the operator has seen you and understands your intentions before approaching.
  7. If you need to get medical help:

Dial 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

Dial NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation, you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service.

Minor Injury Units

Berwick, TD15 1LT (21 miles) – open 24 hours and supported by GPs. Tel: 01289 356 607.

Alnwick Infirmary, NE66 2NS (27 miles) – open 8am-5pm. Tel: 01665 626727

Full A&E departments

Cramlington, NE23 6NZ (50 miles) – Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, with emergency consultants on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tel: 0344 811 8111

Melrose, TD6 9BS (31 miles)- Borders General Hospital at Melrose, open 24 hours for emergency treatment. Tel: 01896 826000. NB this is in Scotland.

If someone is injured on a mountain, phone Mountain Rescue, dial 999, ask for POLICE then MOUNTAIN RESCUE

10. If you need local advice – or have a genuine problem or emergency – you will find that the long-term residents of the Valley are generally very helpful.