A training exercise took an dramatic turn when a coastguard crew spotted a dog on a narrow ledge in the Cairngorms during terrible weather conditions.
‘Little Ben’ had been missing for two days when the Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew discovered him beside a 200ft vertical drop.
The Inverness helicopter crew – captain Simon Hammock, co-pilot Roger Sherriff, winch operator Rob Glendinning and winchman Mark Stevens, were undertaking some essential winter training with another winchman Kate Willoughby visiting from Humberside Coastguard helicopter base, at Stag Rocks in the Cairngorms.
To put their winter skills to the test, the two winchmen were dropped off at a nearby bothy to undertake essential medical training in the snow.
The remaining helicopter crew flew off to simulate a refuel and as they circled 1,000ft up Loch Avon in the Cairngorms, a nearby section of cloud cleared and they happened to spot the dog perched precariously on the ledge.
Cuddled by Winchman Kate Willoughby, this little dog 🐶was spotted on a 200ft ledge in the #Cairgorms 🗻 whilst the Inverness Coastguard helicopter were out on essential winter training. Cracking footage and story to follow 🙌 #allsafe #trainingmatters https://t.co/gZjECw2RJQ pic.twitter.com/eVaDa5VNbT
— Maritime&Coastguard (@MCA_media) March 13, 2019
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said: “The helicopter crew noted the position, went back to collect the two training winchmen and returned to the stranded dog. The weather had luckily presented them an ideal window of opportunity to use the rest of their training time to rescue the dog!
“Little ‘Ben’ was terrified and cold, so it was flown to the nearby Glenmore Lodge who then rushed it to the Strathspey Veterinary Centre. We have since heard that the dog is doing well and has been happily reunited with its owner.”
The agency has since shared a video on their social media pages of a “happy Ben” walking around after his 48-hour ordeal.