Ben safe onboard the Coastguard helicopter with winchman Kate Willoughby. Photo: MCA

Ben safe onboard the Coastguard helicopter with winchman Kate Willoughby. Photo: MCA

A dog stranded on a precarious Cairngorms mountain ledge in severe weather had a lucky break when he was spotted by a rescue helicopter crew on a training mission.

Ben, a King Charles spaniel-bichon fries cross, had been missing for 48 hours as Storm Gareth lashed the Highlands.

The Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew sighted the animal on a ledge above a 200ft drop on Stag Rocks on the southern flanks of Cairn Gorm.

The crew: Captain Simon Hammock, co-pilot Roger Sherriff, winch operator Rob Glendinning and winchman Mark Stevens, were undertaking essential winter training with another winchman Kate Willoughby visiting from Humberside Coastguard helicopter base.

The two winchmen were dropped off at a nearby bothy to undertake essential medical training in the snow to put their winter skills to the test.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said: “The remaining helicopter crew flew off to simulate a refuel and as they circled 1,000ft up Loch Avon in the Cairngorms, a nearby section of cloud cleared and they happened to spot the dog perched precariously on the ledge.

“The helicopter crew noted the position, went back to collect the two training winchmen and returned to the stranded dog. The weather had luckily presented them an ideal window of opportunity to use the rest of their training time to rescue the dog.

“Little Ben who is a cavachon, a mix of King Charles cavalier spaniel and bichon fries, was terrified and cold, so it was flown to the nearby Glenmore Lodge who then rushed it to the Strathspey vets.

“We have since heard that the dog is doing well and has been happily reunited with its owner.”

Footage of the dog being winched from the mountainside

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