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The British weather is a constant topic of conversation.
Often unpredictable, it's now having an even bigger effect on our lives.
Dangerous floods threaten our homes.
Forest fires devastate our countryside.
Savage storms ravage our coastlines.
Today, we find out what happens to Britain when it's hit by freak weather.
We hear the stories of people's lives
who have been turned upside down by the totally unexpected.
And we show you how to protect yourself, your home
and your family from disaster.
Welcome to Living Dangerously.
We've all seen reports of tornadoes, hail storms and flooding.
What's it really like when extreme weather wrecks your life?
Today, we hear two true stories.
Coming up on Living Dangerously...
A ferocious storm in the Lake District in October 2008
threatens to leave thousands of fell runners stranded on a hillside.
With not being able to move my legs, I didn't know whether I'd shattered my hip.
For one keen animal lover, her perfect day turns into a nightmare
when her horse becomes trapped in mud.
When the vet got there, she assessed the problem and then
she told us all that she didn't think she'd make it.
With home video, actual footage and reconstruction, we show
what happened during these real-life weather events.
The breathtaking scenery of the Lake District in Cumbria is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.
It's a popular location for dedicated hill-walkers, but also for more adventurous
enthusiasts who love to race across the peaks in orienteering challenges,
something 21-year-old medical student Liz Britton is addicted to.
Dad started me off for the orienteering, because it's running
we have the think about what you're doing, so you don't get distracted.
I like the challenge of it.
This passion for orienteering runs in Liz's family, with her sister Emily
and father John all strongly competitive.
Everything is your own doing.
You choose your own route. If it works, it's your success.
If it doesn't, it's your fault.
When you get round a good orienteering course quickly,
then it's something you can be very pleased about.
It's you against the elements.
Knowing that you can overcome
those obstacles, and the weather...
It's just a real mental challenge, and it's such a good feeling when you get round it.
Dashing across a hostile terrain while dealing with
the unpredictable British weather is what makes orienteer fell running such a challenging adventure sport.
With Liz deciding to take on a gruelling mountain marathon in the Lake District, where runners have to
compete in couples in case one gets injured, she teamed up with good friend Rachel Findlay-Robinson.
Liz had done them before and I hadn't,
so it's always nice to have someone else who knows what they're doing,
to rely on for something like that.
She just rang me up one day and said, do you fancy doing it?
I said, "OK, why not?"
The first day of the Original Mountain Marathon was held in the Lake District on October 25th, 2008.
It's a brutal race, that's held over a weekend and sees fell runners
sprinting across a difficult terrain for 26 miles a day.
Rain had battered the Lake District in the days leading up to the race,
and the weather forecast was for more heavy rain, as well as strong winds.
With the 2,500 competitors being experienced athletes and mountaineers
who are used to coping with challenging weather, it was decided the race would go ahead.
The runners were told to stick to bad weather tracks, and avoid high ridges.
It's the Lake District at the end of October, and part of
the challenge of doing it is the extreme weather conditions.
We weren't expecting it to be quite as extreme as it was.
We were pleased the event wasn't cancelled.
We went along,
hoping that the weather wasn't going to be as bad as it was forecast to be.
On the morning of the race, it was overcast and blustery.
The runners had staggered start times,
and there was a great atmosphere as competitors waited to go off.
It's going to be great. We're up for it.
We were all in really good spirits when we set off.
There was a really lovely lady at the start, who was throwing out banter on the megaphone.
It was a really good feeling.
Dad John and sister Emily had teamed together, and were up first.
The problem was, the weather began changing.
Up to about 9 o'clock, it was all looking miserable but
wasn't actually doing anything.
About a quarter of an hour before we started, it started absolutely pouring down.
John and Emily set off anyway, with Liz and Rachel following a half-hour later.
By now, the rain had turned into a relentless downpour.
It wasn't just the rain lashing against the runners.
It got much worse, as the wind started to pick up too.
It managed to get under your feet, and as you lifted them
to try and jog down the hill, it would just pick you up and you could go several metres.
You could see people running down the hills and then being swept off their feet by the wind.
We got up on the first summit, and the wind was absolutely horrendous.
At that point we began to think, if this carries on, it's not going
to be much fun.
But it did carry on, and over the next hour, the weather turned fouler and fouler.
Winds estimated at 40 mph added to the persistent heavy rain
now pounding the hills and mountains of the Lake District,
making conditions extremely heavy going for the fell runners.
Competitors were determined to battle the elements and continue the race.
Me and Emily actually held each other, and walked three-legged for support
on the fiercest piece of wind on the top.
Either one by themselves was in danger of being blown away.
My eyes were watering, my glasses were steamed up, the map was covered in water.
By now we'd been going a couple of hours,
so we were beginning to get a bit weary.
At that point,
you realise that this is very serious.
It would only get worse. Over the next hour,
the high winds got steadily stronger, increasing to 50 mph.
To add to the danger, the heavy rain produced flash floods
that caused normally genteel rivers to burst their banks,
and turned trickling streams into raging torrents, while paths became treacherous water courses.
For the time being, the 2,500 fell runners were struggling on to get to the finish line.
Soon, the Original Mountain Marathon would become less of a race, and more of a fight for survival.
You could tell the rivers were getting really, really fast.
We had to cross a couple near the tops.
I was getting a bit uncomfortable, because they did look really, really fast.
It was at this point that Liz and Rachel caught up
with dad John and sister Emily at a control checkpoint.
As a four, we made the mistake of just heading down into the valley from that control.
Very quickly, all the streams were beginning to get much, much bigger.
You then realised, there's going to be an issue getting across.
The streams were swollen with fast-moving water.
The only way to continue the race was to go through them.
Determined to go on, the two teams decided to split up.
John and Emily just wanted to get to the finish line, so chose to head
back up the hills, where they hoped the streams would be less fierce and easier to cross.
While Liz and Rachel, still in a competitive mood, resolved
to take their chances crossing the streams further down in the valley.
It was equally windy either direction, it was equally
rainy either direction, so you may as well carry on.
A month's worth of rain was to fall in just one day over the Lake District.
Now, three hours into the race, hundreds of marathon runners were
being stranded on the mountain as all avenues back to safety were blocked by raging rivers and streams,
with the conditions exacerbated by driving rain, and winds approaching storm force.
Down in the valley, Liz and Rachel were determined to finish the race,
but to do that, they faced a dangerous obstacle, a swollen and torrid stream.
It was pretty deep - it was a lot deeper than it looked.
You could see the power of the water going down the river.
But there wasn't really anything else we could do.
Whichever way we went, we had to get across the stream to go anywhere.
We just found what we thought would be a reasonable place, where it was quite narrow
and not a massive drop from the banks into the river,
so we could get out quickly and try to cross there.
Rachel got a stable footing in, and I stepped out to the level she was that.
As I took my next step,
the gravel below my foot just went away.
I could feel there was a massive torrent, and it just went straight under me.
I knew that I was going to be swept down. I didn't want to pull her in with me,
because I knew that it was a strong enough current that we'd both go under if I kept on.
So I let go.
Coming up later on Living Dangerously -
as fell runner Liz is swept away by surging waters, how will she survive?
I was aware that I was hitting my head, and my back. It hurt a lot.
When it comes to Britain's extreme and unpredictable weather,
it's not just humans that get caught out when it strikes.
Our four-legged friends can also end up in all kinds of perilous danger due to the unforgiving elements.
There's help at hand for them. The fire brigade.
They don't just risk it all to pluck people out of burning buildings, or go into raging fires.
They're here to save all lives, and that means our pets too.
They have specialist teams scattered across the UK to rescue animals that
have fallen particularly foul of the British weather,
something Merseyside fire fighter John Lloyd-Young knows all about.
The search and rescue team
was set up within Merseyside Fire Service about five years ago.
It was brought in to play for any major incidents,
and any specialist rescues they might need.
It could be any road traffic collisions, animal rescues, anything that needs
a little bit more knowledge and understanding.
And it was this specialist team that was to prove invaluable for one woman,
when they came to the rescue of Penny, a seven year-old Welsh cob.
Penny is looked after at the Barnston Riding Centre in the Wirral by stable hand Rachel.
I started riding when I was about eight or nine.
I love everything about horses, everything.
Their kind nature, the way they are around you.
Somewhere to escape to, isn't it?
Rachel was on duty when Penny became a victim of freak weather.
I'm here to find out how the extreme conditions nearly cost the animal her life.
-Hi, I'm Nadia.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you. Thanks for having me here.
Look at this, amazing!
This is such a gorgeous place, isn't it? No wonder you love it here.
-Look at this one!
-This is Danny.
-Does it bite?
-He's very friendly.
-Just put your hand in.
He's really nice, he's quite popular with the kids.
Of all the horses, Rachel's favourite is Penny.
Penny the horse is about seven to eight years old.
She's a cob. She's black with a little white stripe down her face, with four white socks.
She's just a kind-natured horse, really.
She's always friendly, always wants to see you.
She's never grumpy or anything.
Which is why everyone at the stables was devastated when the weather caught them unaware,
and led to Penny facing a near-death situation earlier this year.
Britain was experiencing an unusually dry spell.
With such good weather, it meant that the horses were let out early to graze overnight in the fields.
In the summertime, they will go out and spend the night on the field.
In the winter, we'll keep them in because it's so wet and we don't want the fields to get wrecked.
But this year, you put them out a bit earlier?
They went out at Easter, because it was so nice over Easter.
We had really nice weather and we thought, we'll turn them out now.
On the evening of 11th May 2009, with a forecast for more of the same dry weather,
the horses were let out into their grazing fields as usual.
During the night, rain began falling down.
Unbeknown to the stable hands, parts of the horses' fields were becoming extremely water-logged.
What's worse, a dried-up pond in nearby woods quickly overfilled and turned into a very sticky bog.
But by morning, the rain had turned into a misty drizzle.
The horses' field looked a bit wet and muddy, but nothing particularly untoward.
Got here at eight o'clock in the morning to start work.
We decided to get the horses in that were across the road.
"I shouted down to Kelly, "Where's Penny?
"You can't see her in the field."
The girls at the stables searched frantically for Penny,
and were left shell-shocked when they found her almost completely immersed in the muddy pond.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. She was stuck up to her neck.
She was just so still and lifeless, and couldn't move or anything.
How did you feel when you saw her like that?
All my emotions were just running.
I thought there was no way of getting her out. I couldn't get to her.
You couldn't stand on the mud or anything. Your foot just sank straight away.
We thought the worst. We thought we'd have to phone the fire brigade.
It's thought that Penny the horse wandered into the wood, and one
can only guess that she went across the normally dry pond when she was sucked into the quicksand-like mud.
So I rang 999 and they came within minutes.
When they saw her, they couldn't believe what they were seeing either.
They said they'd never seen anything so bad in their life.
The British weather had shown what it's capable of once again.
And with Penny in dire straits, the stables called out vet Maria McCormick.
I arrived at the stables probably about half past nine or so.
And I pulled up into the front and there were, I think, two fire trucks there.
When I first saw her I was shocked, really.
Even though they'd told me how deep she was in the mud,
it was quite shocking actually to see her.
All you could see was her head and the crest of her neck.
She was really, really quiet.
And that's what really worried me.
She was shivering. My initial plan was to sedate her.
But as soon as I saw the state of her, I thought, there's no way I'm going to sedate this horse.
I thought I could probably do more damage than good actually.
Trapped in the rain-sodden ground, and with such terrifying odds stacked against her, Penny needed help fast.
So the fire brigade called in their search and rescue team,
who have specialist equipment to deal with such emergencies.
The local fire station had turned out to it, and we responded as part of the search and rescue team.
Once on the site, the expert team quickly got to work.
Vet Maria guessed Penny could have been trapped for up to four hours,
with 90% of her body covered in cold, cloying mud.
The fire-fighters risked being pulled into the mud themselves.
So they started by laying down inflatable mats around the horse to give them a platform to work from.
We then had to come up with a method of retrieving the horse from the mud.
Now what we normally use is lengths of 70ml hose to spread the weight
around a little bit more on the horse.
So once we'd created a square around the horse of this working platform,
we then started to work, digging in and around the horse, trying to feel underneath
the horse's abdomen to pass lengths of hose from one side to the other.
As the drama continued, the stables' office manager Jane Pickering arrived to find absolute pandemonium.
When I initially got the first call, it was around 10 to nine,
nine o'clock in the morning.
One of the girls that worked here said that
Penny had got stuck in a bog.
And I was like, "Oh, my God."
Walking down the field, I just started to cry.
All kinds of emotions went through me.
And when I got down there, I really didn't think they were going to get her out.
I asked one of the firemen if I could just hold her head, just so someone was with her that she knew.
And they said, "Oh yeah, come down, but obviously be careful."
While Jane kept soothing Jenny, the specialist rescue team got on with their work.
It had taken them an hour and a half to pass the four lengths of hose under the animal to create a harness.
Once we had all four lengths of hose in place, we then needed to aerate the area around the horse.
We carry sand lances on the vehicles, and we used them,
pressed down into the mud with compressed air,
which relieved the suction on the horse.
Once we relieved the suction on the horse, you can then begin the lift.
But with Penny weighing over half a tonne, they needed mechanical horsepower to free her.
And the only way they were ever going to do that was by attaching the hose harness to a tractor to pull her out.
This was a crucial part of the delicate operation.
With the horse being a live animal, once out, she could panic and cause
horrific injuries to herself, or even accidentally deliver a fatal kick to one of the fire-fighters.
They managed to get the hoses onto the tractor and the bucket lifted her.
And as she came out, she then struggled.
She was slipping on the mats with the mud.
And she actually went back in with her front legs again.
And the vet had further bad news for both Rachel and Jane.
An hour and a half into the rescue the vet took her to one side, because the horse was starting
to deteriorate, and said, "If we don't get the horse out soon, she could die."
Jane was nearly crying.
I couldn't look at Jane because she was in tears. But I had to
just try and keep calm and think, it's not a time to cry, we just need to get this horse out.
One time her head did go very heavy in my hands and I thought she'd actually given up.
Her eyes closed and her head was
just really heavy.
Coming up later on Living Dangerously -
Will Penny ever get to run freely in the fields again?
If you don't get the horse out as quickly as you can, it may die.
But if you try and do something like yank the horse out, it may die anyway.
Back to the Lake District in October 2008.
2,500 fell runners taking part in the gruelling Original Mountain Marathon
were caught out by heavy rain and gale-force winds.
HOME VIDEO SOUNDTRACK:
Three hours into the competition, rivers and streams had turned into
raging torrents, and floodwaters reached biblical proportions.
Competitors stranded by the appalling conditions
were abandoning the race and seeking shelter where they could.
Meanwhile, Liz Britton and her best friend Rachel vowed to carry on.
They had attempted to cross a swollen stream when disaster struck.
The gravel below my foot just went away and I knew that I was going to be swept down.
I didn't want to pull her in with me.
I knew that it was a strong enough current that we'd both go under if I kept on, so I let go.
You're under for... it feels like a lifetime but you know it's really not.
You get a second where you can just stick your head up and get some air.
Obviously my main concern at this point was whether or not Liz was actually alive.
Because I didn't know... She'd gone down the river.
I couldn't see her and the water was so strong.
If Liz couldn't get out of it, what was going to happen to her really?
As I went down, I was aware that I was hitting my head and my back.
It was mostly just...
I didn't lose consciousness.
So I did feel every single bash.
It hurt a lot.
Torrential rain was still pounding the Lake District.
By now, the howling gales had escalated to 90mph.
Combined with the wind chill factor, this meant temperatures plummeted.
Liz's father John and sister Emily were heading uphill out of the valley
to find a safer place to cross the raging stream, when they realised something was very wrong.
I just looked down and I saw Rachel going berserk.
So, kind of...
I knew instantly what had gone on.
Father and daughter raced down the hill as fast as they could.
As soon as we got there, Rachel was quite...
almost hysterical and distraught.
She said Liz had been washed away.
There was this awful sinking feeling.
I just remember very clearly
the colour draining out of Dad's face in quite a visible way.
Rachel said she would go for help.
Emily and I went to look for Liz.
I thought the most likely thing would be the stream would deposit her somewhere.
The question was, how hurt would she be?
It's pretty scary to be running down to find somebody and to be
thinking, if I find them they might not be alive.
That's... That was a pretty distressing moment.
The battering rain and storm-force winds continued unabated.
And with Liz plunged into freezing waters, she was in serious trouble.
As she struggled in the water, Liz was thrown onto a small island in the middle of the gushing flood,
and knew instantly she was injured.
It was the fear of what I'd done to my legs, because I could not move them under my own power.
I didn't know whether I'd maybe like shattered my hip.
John and Emily were frantic with worry as they desperately searched
for Liz, when they came across fellow runners Phil England and Tim Sparrow.
We were coming down the bank
and there were now four of us, because there was Tim and Phil and me and Emily.
And you could see
this sort of crumpled person lying down on the rocks,
just out of the water.
I established that she was conscious.
Didn't know what was damaged, but...
she wasn't for moving or being touched.
But at least she was actually conscious.
The driving rain and storm-force winds continued unrelentingly across the Lake District.
More and more competitors were giving up on the race and coming in to seek shelter.
So marathon organisers had no option but to call off the run.
Their only priority now was to get all fell runners to safety.
The local mountain rescues are overwhelmed.
And Jim Longbottom has decided it's wise to cancel the event.
At the same time, a distraught Rachel, who had gone for help, had a stroke of luck.
I could see some people further up the hill,
a group of walkers who weren't related to the event, but one of them had a mobile phone.
Somehow it had a signal, so he was able to call mountain rescue right then.
And get the mountain rescue out earlier than it would have been
if I'd had to go all the way up to the radio point.
But Rachel had no idea where Liz ended up, so with scant information
to go on, mountain rescue ordered 20 volunteers to try and locate her.
Mike Gullen was one of the mountain rescue volunteers who took the emergency call.
And, with such a rough and wild terrain to negotiate, it was going to be a struggle to find Liz.
Time was of the essence if they were to find her alive.
Me and my colleague got kitted up pretty quickly.
We started running up the river doing a very quick search,
looking at places where we think she could have been swept to.
There was no let-up in the 90mph winds and pounding rain.
Liz was still stranded on the island, and not only were the water levels rising,
but she was soaked to the skin and in danger of suffering from hypothermia,
when your body becomes so cold, it shuts down and can kill in minutes.
Dad John was desperate to keep his youngest daughter from death's door.
We got a sleeping bag out and managed to manhandle her into that.
And then we got this tent out, so she was
up to her head in sleeping bag and tent...
and space blanket. And we got...
Emily to lie down next to her.
And I think one of Tim and Phil lay down the other side as well
to get some warmth next to her.
We found a tent on the island.
We didn't know if there was anybody in it first. It was a very small island.
It must have been the size of the Land Rover, something like that.
The water on both sides was raging, and if you look at it now, it's only a couple of foot wide. It's nothing.
It was very apparent as well that the island was getting smaller by the minute.
The water was coming over the island.
There was just this moment where the first rescue guy stuck his head
into the tent, and I think Lizzie just burst into tears,
and I was quick to follow. Just the immense relief
of them being there and it all being over, or about to be over.
They clearly knew what they were doing and how to do it, and just got on with doing it.
So there was a...
As soon as you saw them, you had that sense of security.
The main concern for the day was the hypothermia.
It was very, very cold, very windy, very wet.
She had been in the water for some time, so all her clothes were drenched.
Our main priority was to change her into some clothing we keep
in the vehicles, to try and warm her up until we got her evacuated.
RAF search and rescue helicopters are used in combat to rescue military personnel.
But they're also on 24-hour standby to help civilians.
With the small island shrinking rapidly under rising floodwaters,
a Sea King helicopter was scrambled from RAF Valley in Anglesey to rescue Liz.
The helicopter was already in the area
so as it was there, it was best to use it because we needed a rapid evacuation.
She was very cold, she needed to get to hospital quick.
It was probably the safest method to get her off the island at that point.
Coming up later on Living Dangerously -
when the RAF helicopter comes to the rescue, Liz's ordeal is far from over.
Being winched up is possibly the scariest thing I've ever done.
I was just spinning around and like I was completely mummified, really.
Couldn't move at all.
But will Liz escape the clutch of the weather?
Earlier this year in the Wirral, after an exceptionally dry spate of spring weather, heavy rain caused
the ground around a horse's grazing field to turn into a boggy mess, with potentially fatal consequences.
Penny, a seven-year-old cob at the Barnston riding centre,
had been trapped, virtually submerged in a muddy pond.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
She was stuck up to her neck, she was just so still and lifeless and couldn't move or anything.
This was traumatic for everyone, and Rachel's showing me just where Penny got trapped.
So this is the scene where it all happened?
Yeah, we had to take this gate off and take all the posts out and the
barbed wire, and there was a big archway of trees here
and we had to chop all them down to get the tractor through.
-You can see the branches have been pulled down.
-And where was Penny?
Penny was over here.
Oh, OK. And now you've put all the...
We've put a load of fencing up, but this is how we got in like, this is,
I found her stood here and I could, you could see her from here, and we made a little path up there
for the firemen to get through and they were going up and down here through this field,
chopping the trees down and trying to do the best they can to get her out.
Did you have a lot of admiration for the services at that point?
You left them to it and they knew exactly what they were doing.
You just had so much faith in them to get her out
They wouldn't just leave her in there, like, "There's nothing we can do,"
would they? They did all they could.
The fire brigade's search and rescue team, who deal with such animal emergencies,
were desperately trying to free Penny from the wet, cloying mud, but all was not going to plan.
It's heartfelt. You really want to do something
for the horse and everyone is working as quickly
and as safely as they can to help the horse,
so it's a very strange situation,
knowing you don't get the horse out as quickly as you can, it may die.
But if you try and do something like yank the horse out, it may die anyway.
With all this added pressure, the specialist fire-fighters
worked methodically to try and gently winch Penny out of the bog.
They'd been working for two hours to release the popular pony from the mud.
They'd freed her once, only for her to fall back in again.
With the first attempt to actually lift her out,
she started thrashing about a bit, which was a bit of a concern
because we didn't want her to hurt herself
or anybody else, but I was quite relieved to see her
doing that because it meant that she was aware of what was going on and she had a bit of fight left in her.
But with Penny getting increasingly distraught, the fire-fighters knew
that if they didn't get her out soon, time could run out for the horse.
That's when I sort of shook her and said, "Come on, Penny, they are trying to help you.
-"They're trying to get you out."
-And then, two and a half hours after the rescue began,
with a bit of careful manoeuvring and one final pull, success.
The seven-year-old cob was set free.
I was so relieved, you know, I was speechless, I just couldn't even
think like she'd be OK or anything.
And what about everybody else?
Even for the emergency services, it's not the sort of thing that they see every day.
And I'm sure that everybody at points thought that they wouldn't be able to get Penny out.
Everyone was like really happy that they'd managed to save her
and it was just so overwhelming that she was all right.
It was nice to see that the horse was galloping around the field
virtually straight away, which amazed the vet and everybody there.
We gave her some antibiotics as well and some tetanus, just in case she had any cuts.
Fortunately the firemen had their hoses so they could hose her off,
and surprisingly, she didn't have any cuts or wounds or injuries.
I think we were all crying with happiness at the end of it.
She was very wobbly but we got her up the field and just let her stand, find her feet
and I'd say within 15 minutes, she was munching the grass, she was more than happy, she was fine.
-And how is she now?
Everyone loves her so much. She's so popular.
Even more so.
It's been a few months since Penny's nightmare,
but looking at her now, you'd never guess the trauma she'd been through.
Oh, and this is her! Hello!
I've been hearing all about you.
-You can see she's dead kind, can't you?
I can tell straight away you're kind.
And no marks on her whatsoever.
Just got a really nice, shiny coat, she has.
Has her personality changed at all? Has she been affected in any way?
No, nothing. She's fine, as if nothing has happened.
You are lovely.
You are lovely.
And with the woods now fenced off from the horses' grazing field,
it means that even if the British weather gets up to its old tricks,
Penny won't be at risk of getting trapped in a muddy bog again,
which will mean the world to a lot of people.
Everyone is always asking how she is, is she OK,
and people who don't ride here are always asking like, "How is Penny?"
And everyone is always coming down to see her and giving her carrots
and apples, and she loves it, she loves the attention.
It also means that Rachel can now spend all the time she wants with her favourite horse.
Back in the Lake District in October 2008, driving rain and 90 mph winds
were threatening the lives of some 2,500 fell runners competing in the Original Mountain Marathon.
Casualties included Liz Britton, who was stranded on an island after being swept away by a surging stream,
but was now being tended to by mountain rescue.
Unable to move her legs, it was thought she was badly injured, plus she was in real danger
of succumbing to hypothermia that can kill in minutes.
You still felt cold and you knew you were wet,
but it was, it was the wind, because the wind chill factor, it must have been into the minus numbers.
But an RAF search and rescue helicopter was on the way.
The Sea King helicopter is fitted with infra-red detection devices to search for missing casualties.
It scoured the mountainous terrain of the Lake District for Liz and her stranded party.
It felt like a very long time but it obviously wasn't.
We then heard the noise of the helicopter
and sort of realised what was going to happen.
The air force personnel located Liz, who then had to be winched on board.
But with driving rain and gale-force winds, this wasn't going to be easy.
The RAF Sea King came in and it hovered above us, dropped a winchman.
He then came down and talked to me and my colleague on the island.
We then packaged Liz into a stretcher, which the Sea King dropped,
and then Liz was winched off.
Being winched up is possibly the scariest thing I've ever done, because I was just spinning around
and I was completely mummified, really, couldn't move at all.
My head was sticking out and I could just see all the way down the valley, and everything was grey.
With Liz and the other four marooned runners on board and safe for the first time in three hours,
the RAF helicopter headed for the nearest hospital.
But her running partner Rachel, who had gone for help
before taking refuge in a nearby pub,
was still unaware that her best friend had been rescued, and feared the worst.
I didn't have any information about her until
the police told me a few hours later that they'd taken her to hospital.
For those few hours, it was like the worst feeling ever, then when I saw
her again in the hospital... you can't really describe it.
It was such a good feeling.
Liz had an extremely lucky escape, and surprisingly, her terrifying ordeal left her with just
a fractured wrist and severe bruising,
although it did take her six weeks to walk normally again.
Back in the Lake District, the emergency services worked through the night
to rescue a total of eight competitors stranded in the vicious storm.
Having survived the wrath of Britain's weather and with the storm abated,
hundreds of weary eventers made their way down
the hills of the Lake District after sheltering overnight.
While the runners made it down to safety, for Liz, it had been a close call.
I do think that I have been extremely lucky. I know that...
you know, in those circumstances,
I'd have thought that 90 per cent of the time you'd be a body being
picked off the bank, and everyone I've spoken to who has some knowledge of the hills
has been kind of horrified that I'm still here, in a good way!
I think the chances of anybody surviving in that beck that day
were very slim, and I didn't expect to find anybody that day.
I think a few of my colleagues thought that as well.
While Liz's experience is extreme, if you're heading out for a trek in isolated hills, even if the sun
is shining, you must always be prepared in case the weather turns against you.
My advice for any swollen river is not to cross it.
Just avoid it if you can, go upstream or just don't cross it at all, change your route.
The river is a lot stronger than you are.
Just to have plenty of clothes with you
and have a good head for where you're going,
make sure somebody knows where you're going,
make sure you've got all the right kit, map, torch, whistle, compass, spare batteries.
That's another one. Just go out and enjoy it.
That's what the hills are there for, for everybody to enjoy.
Eight months later and there's no doubt that Liz should be thanking her lucky stars.
While their experience in the Lake District was traumatic, Liz and Rachel survived the ordeal.
But would they take on the elements again?
I don't think it's ever going to put me off enough
to never go out again because
the scenery is just too nice to not want to go out.
At the end of the day, the great outdoors is great for a reason, isn't it?
Yeah, definitely still happy to take it on.
You can't really challenge yourself without putting yourself out there against the toughest stuff.
And on that weekend, you couldn't get any tougher.
One of the worst storms in living memory hit the Lake District.
But while thankfully there were no fatalities,
it just goes to show how vulnerable we are to the power of the elements.
Join us next time for more amazing stories on Living Dangerously.
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