The walker was spotted in Five Finger Gully. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The walker was spotted in Five Finger Gully. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A walker was plucked from a precarious position on Britain’s highest mountain after being spotted by the crew of a rescue helicopter during a night search.

The man was 2km away from his reported position and it was only thanks to an eagle-eyed winch operator that he was found in Five Finger Gully on Ben Nevis.

The poorly equipped walker was reported missing on the mountain in poor weather. The crew of the Inverness Coastguard helicopter was scrambled at 8.15pm and Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was also called out to search for the man.

The crew had to contend with strong winds, mist and driving rain.

As the aircraft was making its way back to the main search area, winch operator Mark Lean spotted the walker on a steep ledge in the gully.

Mr Lean said: “The casualty was hard to locate as he was wearing all black and the only illumination was the backlight of his mobile phone.

“Rescue 951 fortunately glimpsed him on the infra-red camera as the aircraft was making a turn back to the reported search area.

“His location was in the notorious Five Finger Gully which has a sad history of fatalities and complicated technical rescues after navigational errors by walkers. Last night in severe turbulence and poor visibility, the crew of Rescue 951 had to reverse the helicopter into the gully in order to achieve the rescue.

“The casualty was precariously perched on a ledge with a sheer drop below and was still attempting to shuffle down the gully. Thankfully, he was uninjured and we were able to bring him to safety.”

Five Finger Gully and Coire Ghaimhnean immediately above it on the south-west side of the mountain lie close to the main path zigzags leading to the summit plateau of the 1,345m (4,413ft) peak.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency released footage of the rescue

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