The walker got lost on the hills above Bentpath. Photo: Oliver Dixon CC-BY-SA-2.0

The walker got lost on the hills above Bentpath. Photo: Oliver Dixon CC-BY-SA-2.0

A missing walker and his dog were found after a major six-hour search in the Scottish Borders.

A local shepherd used his knowledge of the area of the hills above Bentpath in Eskdale to help rescuers find the man.

Moffat Mountain Rescue Team was alerted by Police Scotland at 4pm on Thursday after the walker called for help. He had become disoriented on the hills north-west of Langholm while on his way to a remote bothy.

Twenty volunteers from the Moffat team were joined by members of the Police Scotland Mountain Rescue Team based in Glasgow and the Coastguard helicopter flew to the area from Caernarfon in north Wales.

A Moffat MRT spokesperson said: “By the time the team reached the search areas it was dark and Police Scotland only had occasional patchy communication with the missing person.

“The missing person’s car was not at the expected location which opened up the search area considerably.

“He had managed to locate a remote mast but from the information received it was not clear where this was, but a suspicion was it may have been a remote sensor for the Eskdalemuir Geophysical Observatory site. They were able to confirm a possible disturbance near a sensor but it was not clear if this was human activity.

“Rescue 936 [the Coastguard helicopter] attempted to fly to the area but was beaten back by heavy snow showers.

“After searches by ground teams were starting to show negative results and fears of a long night ahead and review of possible search areas were reviewed with a local shepherd.

“This led the team to deploy to a remote forest track where the missing walker’s car was located. Soon after Moffat Mountain Rescue Team members located the missing person and were able to bring him safely off the hill.”

The missing walker and his dog were found by the team about 10pm, cold but otherwise unharmed.

Moffat MRT team leader Shaun Duignan said: “Once we were unable to locate the car this search had the potential to become a protracted search through the night.

“A team effort by the helicopter, Moffat MRT and Police Scotland MRT quickly eliminated search areas which then helped when we reviewed the search with a local shepherd. This led the team to redeploy to the area where the missing person was located.”

The Moffat team was aided by colleagues from Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team who helped convert co-ordinates they had received in a different format, and who kept the team’s log up-to-date. The Moffat team also thanked the Bentpath community, who opened up the village hall and made tea and coffee for the rescuers.

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