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‘Epic’ nine-hour rescue mission after hillwalker suffers leg injury during Ben Nevis climb

The Carn Mor Dearg Arete and the north face of Ben Nevis. Picture by William A. Cameron
The Carn Mor Dearg Arete and the north face of Ben Nevis. Picture by William A. Cameron

Two hillwalkers were rescued close to the UK’s highest peak today after a gruelling nine-and-a-half hour operation.

The man and woman first raised the alarm on the Carn Mor Dearg Arete in Lochaber around 4pm on Wednesday.

The man had suffered a leg injury and needed to be carried off by stretcher from 3,000ft up.

The pair phoned for help while trying to retrace their steps on the ridge, which links the Carn Mor Dearg with the 4,411ft summit of Ben Nevis.

They had turned back on their ascent after encountering deteriorating conditions.

Twenty-three members of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were sent to reach the hillwalkers, who were visitors to the area.

A coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Inverness was unable to reach the stranded couple because of low cloud.

John Stevenson, leader of the Lochaber MRT, said they finally managed to get the couple to base around 1.30am today.

He said: “It was cold, wet and dark with snow on the hill. There was sleet and wind and turned into a bit of an epic rescue.

“It really is the start of winter and people need to be aware winter conditions have arrived.

“These two turned back because of the conditions – it was pretty poor on the hill. We asked them to try and make their way down as far as possible so we could reach them quicker.

“But the man had a leg injury and they were also a bit worried about coming down and were crag fast.

Rescuers praise walkers and climbers for staying off hills

“So we made our way up and stretchered the chap off. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught out by the conditions.

“They were cold and wet and we warmed them up when we got them down.

“It is really important that walkers and climbers do not now get caught out by the diminishing daylight and have full winter kit.”

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