Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Hiker, 80, says wife was 'a bit angry' but has forgiven him for going missing

An elderly hiker who went missing for three days said his wife has now forgiven him after being ‘a bit angry’ at his disappearance.

Harry Harvey, 80, had set off on a hiking trip with a friend on Friday, but the pair became separated during a violent hailstorm in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday. A large-scale search was then launched to find him, involving police, mountain rescue, volunteers and the RAF.

The retired shipyward worker was then brought to safety by a wildlife photographer on Tuesday, after spending three days and three nights camping by himself.

He had survived the incident on the small amount of food he had in his backpack, but suffered a small injury to his head after slipping and falling during the storm.

Mr Harvey said: ‘If the weather had been good I would have really enjoyed
myself. I am fine. I had bandaged my head myself but went to Rake Lane Hospital
close to where I live when I got back and they did it for me properly.

‘My wife was a bit angry to begin with, but she has forgiven me now. I am happy
to be back home safe and well and warm. Why wouldn’t I?

‘We had a nice meal together last night and a breakfast of scrambled egg
this morning. I have a huge appetite. I always have supplies of food on me when I go hiking. I had Auntie Bessie’s instant custard, and Uncle Ben’s rice to eat.’

After Mr Harvey was found, he was brought to the Tan Hill Inn, where his son Phil and daughter-in-law Naomi were preparing to record an appeal to the press in a last-ditch hope of finding him.

In the footage, he could be seen emotionally embracing his family with a self-made bandage on his head.

Mr Harvey’s wife Dorothy, 78, said she had gone ‘into shock’ after first being told about her husband’s disappearance. She continued: ‘He’s very experienced, and had all his gear with him, so I hoped for the best, but as time went on I became sick with worry.

‘Neighbours were calling in to check I was okay. I don’t think I have drank as
many cups of tea in my life. I had a sleepless night on Monday, then on Tuesday I got a call.

‘I thought it might be the police telling me the search mission had changed
into a recovery mission, but to my delight it was Harry saying, “hello sweetheart”.

‘I burst into tears. I feel euphoric to have him home. We are both so thoroughly grateful to the mountain rescue and police and everyone who helped in the search.’

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