The daughter of a hillwalker killed by lightning in a freak weekend accident on a Lochaber Munro has spoken of her heartbreaking loss.
Isobel Bytautas, 55, from Selkirk, was among a group of seven walkers who were on Na Gruagaichean, near Ben Nevis, on Saturday when it struck.
Members of the party, all understood to be Linlithgow Ramblers, were airlifted to Fort William, but Mrs Bytautas – who worked for NHS Borders in the occupational health department at Borders General Hospital – died as a result of her injuries.
A second woman who was also struck by lightning was said to be in a stable condition at the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
In a social media message posted in the hours after the accident, Ms Bytautas’ daughter, Ashley Bytautas, said she and her father Andrew had been left heartbroken at the loss.
Ms Bytautas, 30, and also of Selkirk, said: “Never did I ever think I would have to write this.
“Last night dad and I received the most heartbreaking news imaginable, my beautiful mother, and his wife is gone.
“I can’t process it. It doesn’t seem real. I’m broken.
“While out on the mountains at Fort William yesterday with the Linlithgow ramblers, a group of seven were struck by lightning.
“Mum died instantly – a freak one-in-a-million accident you never think is possible.
“I can’t imagine life without her. I’m lost.”
She asked for space to let the family grieve and make arrangements.
The Linlithgow Ramblers group and a number of other climbers were on the Munro, in the Mamore Range, when a brief but violent thunderstorm struck on Saturday afternoon.
The walkers raised the alarm at 5.42pm, with a multi-agency response swiftly launched.
Police initially said two members of a walking group had been struck by lightning and injured.
A coastguard helicopter, Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team and Scottish Ambulance service helimed and ambulances were all sent to the scene, with the party members airlifted to Fort William.
A statement from police subsequently confirmed the worst, saying: “Sadly, a woman aged 55 years died as a result of her injuries.
“Another woman was taken by ambulance to Belford Hospital in Fort William where her condition is stable.
“The next of kin of the woman who died have been advised and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
Inspector Isla Campbell, Local Area Policing Inspector for Lochaber, added: “We are grateful for the prompt and professional response from partner agencies to this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the lady’s family.”
On social media, friends and colleagues of Mrs Bytautas spoke warmly of her caring and compassionate nature.
Tracy Bell said: “So, so sorry to hear this awful news. Isobel was one of the most caring people I had the privilege to know…my thoughts and prayers are with you.”
And Sharon Wilson added: “So sorry to hear this sad news. Isobel was a fantastic work colleague to us all in MAU. Thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.”