CHILDREN who became trapped by severe weather during a school trip were rescued by a gamekeeper and two farmers.

Fifty-eight primary schools pupils were stranded when the Beast from the East blizzards battered the region last week.

Children, aged nine and ten, from Tanfield Lea and Brandon, in County Durham, had set off for North Yorkshire with their teachers for a five day residential trip last Monday.

They were staying at Grinton Youth Hostel, near Richmond, and had a week of activities planned, which included hill-walking, art work, creative writing, stream dipping and orienteering.

Kay Hemmings, headteacher of Tanfield Lea Primary School, said: “After Tuesday, all plans went to pot and we had to bed down in the youth hostel, perched on the edge of the moors high on a hill outside of Grinton village.

“From Wednesday onwards we could only stray metres from the house to sledge or build snowmen.

“We could not venture any further due to the extreme temperatures and, at times, blizzard conditions.

“We were lucky to have a coal fire in the house as the gas kept going off too, due to the cold temperatures.

“By Thursday at midday we started to make plans as to how we were going to get out.”

Handley’s Coach Company, based in Richmond, contacted local people to see who could help and David Atkinson, a local game keeper and member of the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group, came with his pick-up truck and trailer.

The stricken group was also helped by two of his farmer friends with tractors who cleared the road up to the youth hostel.

Mr Atkinson piled the luggage into the trailer and made three trips to transport it to waiting buses in Grinton.

The children then braved the elements and walked down to the village.

Ms Hemmings said: “It was quite the adventure and we are naturally extremely grateful to David and his friends for ensuring the children were able to get home with their luggage on Friday. It was not our usual week by any means.”