Searches for hill walker continue as north braces itself for heavy snow

Stephen Mitchell

Searches for a hill walker missing in the Highlands continued yesterday as the north braced itself for an onslaught of heavy snow.

The Met Office has severe weather warnings for snow in place from 6am today until 6pm tomorrow covering a large part of the Highlands, Argyll, the north and the north east.

Conditions, which could result in long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel, are expected to see “significant accumulations” of snow developing. Rural communities could be cut off for several days and long interruptions to power supplies are possible.

The east of the country will be the worst affected, with the warning remaining in place until Friday for that area.

Yesterday in the Strathcarron area of Wester Ross searches continued for overdue hill walker Stephen Mitchell from Crieff.

And police named a climber who died after sliding 650ft down a mountain north of Glenfinnan on “bullet hard” ice on Saturday as Christopher Fryer, 38, from Norfolk.

Mountain rescue teams from RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Leeming and Torridon worked with the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (Sarda) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency search and rescue helicopter in Strathcarron.

The 57-year-old Mr Mitchell was reported missing after not returning as planned from a walk at the weekend.

He set off on Friday from close to the Strathcarron Hotel and intended to walk in the Bendronaig Lodge, Lurg Mhor and Bearneas areas.

He is believed to have been near Beinn Dronaig about on Saturday morning.

Sergeant Bruce Crawford said: “As time passes we are naturally increasingly concerned for Mr Mitchell’s wellbeing and I would ask anybody who thinks they have seen him or someone matching his description to contact us.”

Anyone who was staying in local bothies at the weekend is asked to get in touch.

Mr Mitchell is described as 6ft tall with grey hair and is likely to have greying stubble.

While walking he carries a black rucksack and uses either an orange or sulphur coloured sleeping bag.

Anyone with information regarding Stephen Mitchell’s whereabouts is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.

As snow fell on Lerwick yesterday morning a number of vehicles were involved in two separate accidents.

Four cars collided at Holmsgarth Road at around 8.45am, with no-one injured. There was also a three-vehicle accident just after 8.50am on North Road. Again, no-one was injured.

NorthLink Ferries said that Wednesday’s freight sailings to and from Shetland were likely to be cancelled due to the weather.