Rachel Slater and Tim Newton were on a Valentine's Day climbing trip

Rachel Slater and Tim Newton were on a Valentine's Day climbing trip

Rescuers said they expect the identity of two bodies found yesterday on Ben Nevis to be confirmed as Rachel Slater and Tim Newton.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team members recovered the man and woman from the North Face of the mountain yesterday evening.

Police said they were alerted by a member of the public late in the afternoon on Wednesday who found a woman’s body at the base of Observatory Gully, about 500m from the Charles Inglis Clark hut, where the couple had camped on 13 February.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 20 Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team personnel attended the area, where at approximately 6.15pm, the body of a man was found close by.

“The man and woman were subsequently recovered from the mountain.

“The families of Tim Newton and Rachel Slater have been informed. A further update will be issued once formal identification has taken place.”

A Lochaber MRT spokesperson said: “I am sure that everyone will join us in offering our thoughts and sincere condolences to the families and friends of Rachel and Tim.

“They were well known, experienced and respected climbers and their plight has touched so many people over the last few weeks.

“We have been overwhelmed by the help and support we have received over the last few weeks as we tried to get some clues to where Rachel and Tim may have been going on the day they went missing.

A Lochaber team member searching on the North Face. Photo: Lochaber MRT

A Lochaber team member searching on the North Face. Photo: Lochaber MRT

“We would like to thank the whole climbing community for engaging and assisting, even when it was only to eliminate some of the small clues we thought we had obtained.

“Thanks also to Police Scotland, and in particular the local staff who have been able to take some of the pressure off of us arising from the immense media interest the rescue has generated, and continues. We have been supported by several other mountain rescue teams and Search and Rescue Dogs Association dogs, and it speaks volumes for all the people in the MR community who give up so much of their time on a voluntary basis to assist others.

“Finally, but not least, well done to all the members of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. The effort which has gone into this rescue has been immense in some of the most challenging conditions you could expect to experience. To quote one of the climbers who we talked to last night at the CIC hut after the recovery: ‘Can I shake your hand as you are all heroes’?”

The two climbers, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, were reported missing after a Valentine’s Day trip to Britain’s highest mountain. Both were experienced climbers.

The couple were seen camping in a green tent behind the CIC Hut before heading off up the 1,345m (4,413ft) mountain.

Ms Slater and Mr Newton were among six climbers and walkers missing in the Scottish Highlands in recent months. Others still missing are Jim Robertson from Glasgow who went missing in the Cairngorms earlier this month.

Still missing from the summer of 2015 are three hillwalkers lost in separate incidents in the Lochaber and Glencoe areas: Tom Brown, Eric Cyl and Robin Garton.

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