Image Source: https://www.theguardian.com/
After three days of living off tinned beans, losing his glasses in a fall and trekking the Yorkshire dales amid stormy weather, 80-year-old Harry Harvey – feared dead by police – had somewhat of an emotional reunion with his family by turning up at a press conference about his own disappearance.
Harry Harvey, who had been described as a “competent hiker” by officers, was reported missing in the Gunnerside area of Richmondshire in North Yorkshire at around 1.30pm on Sunday.
Following mounting concerns about his welfare, on Tuesday morning Harvey was spotted by a wildlife photographer who noticed him waving at her from the direction of the village of Keld.
His family, from Tynemouth in the north-east of England, had planned to appeal for members of the public to help in the search at a police press conference organised at the Tan Hill Inn near Keld later in the day.
But as it was about to begin, Harvey turned up in a Land Rover with mountain rescue workers, before tearful members of his family – including his son – ran over to embrace him.
Speaking to reporters from inside the pub, Harvey – wearing a large bandage on his forehead – said he had been separated from his organised walking group during a heavy hailstorm and had spent “three good nights wild camping”.
“Where we got separated was absolutely desolate, there was no chance of putting a tent up that’s for sure. So I had to find somewhere safe,” he said, insisting that he had not been in great danger.
“I’d got all the kit, all the training,” said Harvey. “The biggest problem I had was getting to Tynemouth from Keld because I only had £21.05 in me pocket.”
Still, he added, the bandage was to cover an injury sustained while he tried to find safety. “I fell crossing a bridge over a stream. It was a tree across a stream with a mink trap on it, I stepped over the trap and went down and banged my head, which I patched up myself,” said Harvey.
“I rang my wife when I was found – I didn’t give her chance to get angry with me, I put the phone down before she could be.”
Although Harvey had seen a police helicopter and members of the public appearing to be searching on the horizon, he said that he hadn’t realised they were looking for him. “I used my whistle to put out a distress call but to no avail.”
He added that he couldn’t thank his family “enough” for their efforts, and praised the police for their organisation in coordinating the search. “I’m very thankful for what they’ve done,” said Harvey.
A search effort had been deployed from the inn to find the pensioner after the walking group noticed him missing during their route through the upper dales and feared he could be injured.
Since Sunday afternoon, as many as seven mountain rescue teams had been helping police to find Harvey, while local residents and workers had been asked to check outbuildings including sheds and barns.
It is understood that Harvey had brought camping equipment for the trip and was able to take refuge after becoming separated from his organised walking group, the Yorkshire Post reported.
On Monday evening, North Yorkshire local policing inspector Mark Gee said they the force were extremely concerned over his disappearance. “We have growing concerns for his safety and welfare and will continue to put all our efforts into further searches tomorrow,” he said.
In a video shared on the Tan Hill Inn’s Facebook page, Harvey, could be seen being led by mountain rescuers and police officers into the pub after a family member hugged him.
Over the past few days, the pub had posted several appeals to the public to help find him, with hundreds of well-wishers commenting.
After he was found on Monday, Gee said: “This is fantastic news that Harry has been found safe and well. I want to thank all the search volunteers for their time, as well as gamekeepers, estate owners, farmers and local residents for their help and understanding.
“Thanks also to the Tan Hill, who looked after the volunteers and Mr Harvey’s family.”