The College Valley in North Northumberland is on the northern edge of the Cheviot Hills. It is a haven for wildlife and vegetation, and also the location of Cheviot, the highest hill in Northern England at 2,672 ft. The area is rich with the remains of hill forts and ramparts, as well as round houses, all evidence of past communities who lived in the area. On a fine day there are astonishing views and breathtaking panoramas but when the weather is bad the hilltops can be inhospitable places.
Nowadays the hills are a tranquil place, frequented by walkers and home to sheep and wild goats. During the second World War however they were much less quiet as the skies were often filled with the sounds of aircraft.
The RAF ran training courses from RAF Eshott near Alnwick which flew over the Cheviot hillsides and often planes returning from Europe would be diverted for emergency landing to small regional airports such as the one at Millfileld on the northern edge of the Cheviot hills. The combination of inexperienced airmen, primitive navigation systems and often atrocious weather conditions led to a large number of crashes on the hills, many of which were sadly fatal. Amongst the hills it is still possible to find wreckages of these many planes, a sad reminder of where airmen lost their lives.
Thanks to the amazing bravery and courage of local shepherds not all of these crashes ended in tragedy. Many airmen were saved and one rescue in particular has become legendary.