Missing hiker, 80, found alive after turning up at police press conference about him

8 September 2020, 16:55

Harry Harvey was reunited with his family
Harry Harvey was reunited with his family. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

An 80-year-old hiker, who had been missing for three days, turned up at a police press conference where his family were due to make a media appeal for help finding him.

Harry Harvey had been missing in the Yorkshire Dales since Sunday afternoon, when he became separated from a friend.

A huge 60 person search and rescue operation was undertaken, including members of a Royal Airforce mountain rescue team, dogs and police helicopters.

His family were due to speak to the media about his disappearance at Tan Hill Inn pub on Tuesday afternoon, but videos posted on Facebook instead showed the emotional moment Mr Harvey was reunited with his tearful family.

The hiker had flagged down a wildlife photographer before being driven to the pub by mountain rescue workers.

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Who cares if it’s side ways HARRY is Coming Home.

Posted by The Tan Hill Inn on Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Sitting by the fire at the Tan Hill Inn Mr Harvey thanked the rescue team, saying he “did not realise there were so many people” looking for him.

With a bandage on his head he recounted that he was “separated by getting caught in a really heavy hail storm, howling gale winds, and by the time I got my kit on it was getting really dark.

“I had plan b straight away: find somewhere safe to camp, put my tent up, get sorted out and keep warm.”

“I had three good nights wild camping,” he joked, “I was never worried, I had all the kit and all the training.”

“In hindsight I didn’t want all of this, but I had three really good wild camping nights. I was on my own and had all the kit I needed.”

“The only thing I was getting a bit short of was... I have a hell of an appetite and when I get hungry I have got to have something to eat or I can’t go anywhere.”

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Posted by The Tan Hill Inn on Tuesday, 8 September 2020

His family were less upbeat, describing the last few days as a “nightmare” and the feeling of “sheer relief” they felt when he was found.

His daughter-in-law Naomi said while Mr Harvey “had a blast”, they had experienced “torture”.

“The worry, you can’t put that into words,” his son Phil said, “we know he is experienced [at hiking], but not three nights, that is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”

Asked by the media about the number of people worried about him while he was gone, Mr Harvey thanked those that had been searching for him, but joked: “if I had known that I wouldn’t have come back. Not here.”

“I would have found some other way of getting home and avoided all this. It’s not my scene at all, I could do without this.”