Ben Wyvis. Photo: Sylvia Duckworth CC-BY-SA-2.0

Ben Wyvis. Photo: Sylvia Duckworth CC-BY-SA-2.0

A couple of walkers who got lost on a Highland mountain might not have survived the night if rescuers had not found them, the team leader said.

Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team was called out on Friday when the man and woman from Aberdeenshire got lost on Ben Wyvis in Easter Ross.

The pair became completely disoriented as they left the 1,046m (3,432ft) summit of the munro near Garve, mid-afternoon. They phoned for help as conditions worsened.

In failing light, 14 members of the rescue team gathered at the base of the mountain. “Weather on the ridge and summit were full-on winter conditions with strong northerly gales, frequent snow showers and temperatures well below freezing,” a team spokesperson said.

The Inverness Coastguard helicopter flew to the scene and circled the mountain while the team spoke to the couple on their mobile phone. The helicopter managed to locate the pair just before airlifting the team on to the hill.

The pair were flown back to the roadside and the waiting mountain rescue team. The couple were starting to feel the effects of the cold but otherwise well.

Dundonnell MRT team leader Donald MacRae said: “A quick response by both the team and the helicopter certainly saved this couple from any further harm.

“There is no doubt that a lack of a map and compass greatly contributed towards the couple getting lost and calling the emergency services.

“I want to remind everyone, especially at this time of the year when daylight is short and winter conditions are present, that everyone heading to the hills must be well prepared and know how to use their equipment.

“In this case the couple felt confident that because they could see the hill and ridge that everything would be fine. It wasn’t.

“Weather conditions changed, cloud levels dropped and they got lost. I am not convinced they would have survived the night if they had not been found.”

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