Tuesday 20 February 2018

BBC's Stephen Nolan reduced to tears and rescued by police on 'worst day of his life' in Mourne Mountains

Claire Williamson

There are many excuses for turning up late for work - but BBC Northern Ireland's Stephen Nolan had quite a unique one on Sunday evening as he got lost in the Mourne Mountains and ended up getting rescued by the police.

The fiery presenter who has publicly battled with weight loss vowed on Sunday he was beginning a new health kick.

But his adventure up the Mourne Mountains on a rare sunny June afternoon soon turned into a nightmare as he got lost on the way back down - and just about made his 5 Live programme.

Speaking on The Nolan Show he described the escapade as "the worst day of his life".

"I went down to Newcastle and I decided to climb a mountain. And not once did it dawn on me that I shouldn't climb the mountain.

"I'm quite stubborn so once I started climbing I was determined to get to the top."

However Nolan hadn't brought any water or suncream and was wearing a pair of "flimsy training shoes".

He said: "I didn't think things through I started walking and walking and refused to stop. I was in excruciating pain."

He began walking at 1pm thinking he would have plenty of time as he had to be in the studio for 8pm but he didn't reach the top until 6.30pm.

He said: "I get to the top and I look down and I suddenly realised I'm not going to be able to get back down. I go to phone 5 Live to say its 6.30pm I won't make it tonight my phone is out of power.I was then in trouble I then had to start to sprint down the mountain."

But the situation went from bad to worse as he got lost and ended up locked in the car park.

"It was now in and around 8pm and I was supposed to be in 5 Live at this point. I seriously started to cry," he said.

"I was slightly frightened, surrounded by trees. I ventured out of the trees and came to the some stupid dirt track and took the wrong turn I then turned left and walked another four or five miles. It was the wrong way I had to walk back again.

"I'm hobbling along and I get to the car its about 8.55. I'm on air about 10pm.

"They (5Live team) thought I was dead they had phoned Audrey (Nolan's mum) who was then going ballistic. She was phoning everyone too. She thought I was dead too.

"So it was 8.50pm I was in this dopey car park and where they had locked the gates so I phoned the police.

He added: Eight hours I was up that mountain honestly it was one of the worst days of my life. "

Social media savvy Nolan tweeted the entire adventure from start to finish which began with a picture of himself looking fresh with the caption "Day 1 of trying to get fit again."

He shared the eventful journey with his 114k Twitter followers.

At one stage he said: "Shorts too tight. Like sandpaper. Half way up mountain. Trying to keep going to top."

After telling of his plight on air - he was met with a mixture of reactions  and even appeared to have inspired some people.

One tweeted: "Sorry to say it, Stephen, but your story did make me chuckle. I cry when I get lost in Morrisons, so don't worry about it... x

Another said: "Feeling motivated after seeing this, anything is possible."

While one offered him some advice.

He said: "As someone who also has weight to lose, but also as a definitively lapsed athlete, you *need to prepare* for exercise! Learn!"

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