A man has died after suffering a suspected heart attack while climbing Ben Rinnes.
The man collapsed on the mountain, near Aberlour, yesterday at about 1.30pm.
Other hillwalkers rushed to the aid of the stricken individual, who was thought to be in his 50s, and he was airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
But all efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving in Aberdeen.
One witness said: “He was getting near the top and he had chest pains, so he and his walking partner had turned back and were making their way down when he collapsed.
“We were coming off the top of the mountain and heard her screaming for help, and waving her arms so we ran down.
“We started doing CPR, and another couple appeared five or 10 minutes later and another shortly after that, so at least three of those people also did CPR.”
The walker estimated it had taken about 40 minutes for the search and rescue helicopter to arrive, despite the man’s partner giving a clear location.
One of the group also ran down the mountain to get help, with a police Land Rover arriving at around the same time as the helicopter.
He said: “They threw down a flare and winched a medic down, who did what he could before putting the guy on a stretcher and winching him back in to the helicopter to fly to Aberdeen.”
A police spokesman last night confirmed that the hillwalker was declared dead at about 3.10pm.
The witness said the man’s partner had said he was fit, and that they often went walking in the hills together.
It is understood he was not local to the area and was walking up the 4.75 mile path to the hill’s 2,775ft summit while on holiday in the area.
Last night, Speyside Glenlivet councillor Derek Ross described the walk to the top as “strenuous” and said his thoughts went out to the friends and family of the man.
Mr Ross added: “It is a strenuous walk, and you have to be fit to manage it, but these events can strike at any time.
“My heart goes out to those who knew the man who died, and I’m sure everyone living around that part of Moray will be feeling the same thing.
“This is a tragedy for the man, and for the friends and family he leaves behind.”
Ben Rinnes, located south of Dufftown and north of the Cairngorms National Park, offers views of eight surrounding counties from its summit.
The Friends of Ben Rinnes charity, which takes care of its paths and environment, says the mountain is becoming an “increasingly popular” challenge for walkers of all abilities.
The incident was one of three on mountains across the north and north-east within 90 minutes of each other yesterday afternoon.
Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team requested Coastguard helicopter assistance for a 51-year-old climber who fell in Glen Coe and suffered minor head, rib and elbow injuries at approximately 1pm.
The man was flown to Fort William into the care of ambulance personnel, and onward to the Belford Hospital in the town.
Meanwhile, a climber suffered a suspected broken leg on 4,411ft Ben Nevis at roughly 2.30pm.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said he was in a “safe position” while a helicopter was sent to his assistance.