A RESCUE operation to take a woman with a broken ankle off a windswept and rain-lashed Pendle Hill lasted nearly four hours.

An air ambulance was unable to land on the Downham-side slope after being requested by a crew from Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team (RPMT), just after 1pm on Tuesday.

Because of high winds, the mountain rescue volunteers were forced to bring down the 27-year-old casualty, from Laneshawbridge, around 300 metres using a system of ropes and sledges. She had suffered her leg injury while tackling the far left-hand side of the hill, with her husband and son.

Paramedics were also on the scene to stabilise the patient, and, as she was showing the effects of hypothermia, she was placed in a casualty bag for the descent.

Graham Dalley, RPMT deputy leader, said the crew then faced a lengthy walk across moorland before they reached a waiting ambulance, which took her to the Royal Blackburn Hospital for treatment.

β€œIt is the longest carry-off I can remember in the 20 years I have been doing this,” said Mr Dalley.