OLDHAM'S volunteer heroes of the hills joined a mammoth operation to keep travellers safe when sub-zero temperatures and snow-laden gale force winds ripped through link Pennines roads.

A 13-strong squad from Oldham Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT) and colleagues from Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team spent more than eight hours early on Saturday morning helping to check the moorland roads badly affected by the overnight weather.

With the M62 closed, hundreds of vehicles tried to negotiate other routes only to discover many were blocked by the drifting snow and other stranded vehicles.

After checking all of the main cross-Pennine routes in their area – Denshaw (A640, A672), Diggle (A62) and Isle of Skye (A635) – seeking anyone in difficulty, OMRT stood down for refreshments and to dry out all their kit.

Team leader Rob Tortoiseshell said: “As ever, thanks to the local residents for the cups of tea, and to the council, farmers and contractors who all work tirelessly to keep the roads clear.”