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Search resumes for missing Glencoe hiker as mountain rescue boss tells walkers to ‘be prepared’

Collage of missing Neil Gillingham on a police officer.
Police have confirmed that a body recovered from Glencoe is missing hill walker Neil Gillingham.

Glencoe, Oban and Lochaber mountain rescue teams will continue a search today for missing man Neil Gillingham.

The multi-agency operation was called off on Wednesday evening for the hiker who was last seen near the top of Stob Coire Nam Beith around 1.30pm on Sunday, March 6.

The search is due to continue in the Glencoe area on Thursday after it was halted due to bad weather, and poor visibility.

Mr Gillingham’s black and white springer spaniel was found on Monday. But in spite of days of searching with the support of the RAF and the Coastguard helicopter, he has not been traced.

The 43-year-old, who is from Kilmarnock, is described as 5ft 8in tall, with receding fair hair and wearing blue jacket, black trousers and walking boots.

Six people have died in the last two weeks on Scottish mountains.

Conditions are ‘very treacherous’

Photo of snow-covered Glencoe taken from the foot of the mountain
Glencoe. Picture by Sandy McCook

Kev Mitchell, vice chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, told Thursday’s BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, programme that the underfoot conditions on the mountains were “very treacherous”.

He said: “If you are not fully equipped for full winter condition with things like ice axe crampons and so on, then you should be really thinking about where you go at the moment.

“There have been 34 incidents that Mountain Rescue Teams have been called to in the last four weeks.

“You really need to make sure you are checking the weather before you go. You need the OS Locate app on your phone so you can be located if you do get lost.”

Speaking about the numbers of accidents, Mr Mitchell said: “It is a combination of things – but even the best of us can have a slip or a trip.

‘We are going out when people are coming in’

“[We want people to] enjoy the fantastic mountains but check the conditions, a little bit of preparation would be very good.

“Everyone in Scottish Mountain Rescue are volunteers and it is a challenge, we would like to make ourselves redundant by getting a positive safety message out there.

“We are often going out in conditions when people are coming back in.”

Speaking of the incident in Glencoe, he said: “My understanding is the weather conditions were too severe yesterday. But my understanding is that Glencoe, Oban and Lochaber team are going back out today.”

To new hill climbers, he said: “Do a little bit of preparation, join a local mountain climbing group and learn more about hill climbing from them.”

Police and mountain rescue teams are urging people to be prepared when out walking in the hills.

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