Glen Feshie, with the remote area of the search beyond. Photo: Jim Barton CC-BY-SA-2.0

Glen Feshie, with the remote area of the search beyond. Photo: Jim Barton CC-BY-SA-2.0

Rescuers were faced with searching 200 sq km of the Cairngorms in blizzard conditions overnight after a gamekeeper was reported missing.

The 12-hour hunt for the man in the South of the national park was suspended in the early hours of Thursday and resumed at first light.

The keeper had been working in one of the most remote areas of the Cairngorms when his snowmobile broke down and he got lost in whiteout conditions as he tried to make his way to safety.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team was called out at 3pm on Wednesday but halted the search at 3.30am the following day. Weather conditions improved after dawn and the keeper was found with his vehicle.

Team leader Willie Anderson said: “This was a serious and difficult search and rescue in one of the most remote areas that we cover.

“Although we had a number of leads, we were only able to narrow the search area down to an area of approximately 200 sq km, and this area had to be covered in the dark, with blizzard conditions and a significant avalanche danger.

“The Cairngorm team received tremendous support from the RAF Mountain Rescue Team from Lossiemouth, and from the Glen Feshie Estate. Tayside Mountain Rescue Team also assisted us this morning.

“The Coastguard helicopter was hampered by difficult flying conditions last night. However this morning they were able to provide a superb service, lifting teams quickly and efficiently into their search areas.”

The man was found on Carn an Fhidhleir, also known as Carn Ealar, a remote 994m munro on the southern boundary of the Cairngorms national park, overlooking the head of Glen Feshie. It lies in the heart of a vast roadless area, requiring long approach from either Glen Feshie, Glen Tilt or the Linn of Dee.

Mr Anderson said: “I was getting seriously worried for this gentleman given the time that he was missing in such a remote and hostile area.

“However the tremendous efforts of the teams, the Coastguard helicopter and the Glen Feshie Estate have delivered a superb result. Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team is immensely grateful to all who gave us their support in some pretty wild conditions.”

Avalanche risk in the southern Cairngorms overnight was considerable on south to east aspects above 800m.

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