A search for a holidaying hiker missing in the Highlands for four days has been suspended amid increasingly freezing and snowy conditions.
Significant snow forced mountain rescue teams to stand down the search for Martin Rhodes from West Yorkshire yesterday until the weather improves.
Mr Rhodes was reported missing in the Kinlochewe area of Wester Ross on Wednesday evening, having last been seen at about 8.30am that day, and police say they are “increasingly concerned” for his wellbeing.
It is understood he may have planned to go walking locally and searches were first mounted in the Kinlochewe area on Thursday, involving support from Torridon and the RAF mountain rescue teams and the Inverness-based coastguard search and rescue helicopter.
Mountain rescue team members from Torridon and Dundonnell, the Search and Rescue Dogs Association and a coastguard helicopter have since carried out further searches – including on Saturday.
But on Sunday police said weather conditions had forced them to suspend the operation.
“We are continuing to appeal for information which could help trace Martin Rhodes, who remains missing in the Kinlochewe area of Wester Ross,” said a force spokesman.
“We would continue to urge anyone who believes they may have seen him or has any other information to come forward.
“We would particularly ask anybody who may have been walking in the hills near Kinlochewe on Wednesday or at any time since to let us know if you believe you might have information which could help.
“Any locals who have sheds or anywhere else a person may be able to seek shelter is also asked to continue to check them thoroughly.”
Donald MacRae, team leader of Dundonnell MRT, said: “There is quite extensive snow in the area we are looking and the conditions need to improve for the search to resume – but we would reinforce the need for any sightings, which would help greatly.
“In particular we would ask people ‘were you on a trip to any of the following hills: Slioch, A’Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mor, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair?’. Did you meet or see anyone fitting his description? If so, please contact the police.”
Inspector Jamie Wilson added: “Martin is an experienced hillwalker but it is out of character for him to be out of contact for this length of time.
“Our searches have been focused on the popular Slioch hillwalking route from Kinlochewe but I would ask anyone who believes they might have seen Martin, or has information on where he planned to walk, to let us know.”
The officer added: “With the conditions having turned colder, I would also ask anyone with a shed, outhouse or somewhere that a person could have sought shelter to check them thoroughly.”
Mr Rhodes is described as being 5ft 4in tall and of slight build with short brown hair.
It is not known what he was wearing but he is known to have been carrying a black rucksack.