The trio got into difficulties on the Ptarmigan Ridge, which is still in winter condition. Photo: J Millar Lomond MRT

The trio got into difficulties on the Ptarmigan Ridge, which is still in winter condition. Photo: J Millar Lomond MRT

A group of walkers was rescued in a seven-hour operation after getting stuck in winter conditions on a ridge where a man died at the weekend.

Lomond Mountain Rescue Team was called out to the walkers on the Ptarmigan Ridge on Ben Lomond on the very day they had issued a warning about conditions on the mountain.

Within four hours of pleading with walkers to go properly equipped for winter on the ridge, the rescuers were in action to aid a group of under-equipped mountain-goers in difficulties on the iced-up ridge on Scotland’s most southerly munro.

Police Scotland contacted the team shortly after 3.30pm yesterday, Tuesday.

A team spokesperson said: “The trio were practising ahead of a charity walk later in the year and were inexperienced and under-equipped for the winter conditions they found higher on Ben Lomond.

“One casualty, climbing further up the ridge to assess the snow conditions, had a short fall on the ice causing a minor injury and soon returned to her friends, who were now very uncomfortable on the terrain they found themselves on.

“The team leader was able to converse with the casualties by mobile and advised them to stay exactly where they were – assistance would be with them as soon as possible.

“Throughout the rescue reassurance and advice was provided by mobile phone. As Lomond MRT members ascended the ridge, starting at 4.30pm, darkness fell and the casualties became extremely cold; low cloud cover ruled out a helicopter extraction.”

The team made voice contact with the walkers about 6pm and met the group, near the summit, at 6.25pm.

“Aided down to a safer location the casualties were warmed in a group shelter, given additional clothing, hot drinks, food and heat packs,” the Lomond MRT spokesperson said. “Additional team members arrived at the location from 6.36pm and provided further vital assistance.

“At 7.12pm, after equipping the walkers with microspikes and assigning them team guardians, they were assisted down the Ptarmigan path back to Rowardennan, the first arriving at 9.45pm and the remaining two at 10.35pm.”

The third rescue on the Ptarmigan ridge in four days ended about 10.45pm and involved 22 volunteer team members.

The spokesperson said: “Conditions remain challenging with hard ice and snow on the ridge and mountaineering equipment and skills are still vital despite more benign conditions lower in the glen.”

A man died after falling 1,000ft from the ridge on Sunday while walking with two friends, and another wearing microspikes on his boots had to be brought to safety from the mountain after getting into difficulties.

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