Betsy safe in the arms of a team member. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

Betsy safe in the arms of a team member. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

A missing dog was rescued after spending three nights on a Snowdonia mountain.

Betsy, a small pointer cross, slipped her harness and escaped her owners on the summit plateau of Cadair Idris about midday on Saturday.

Despite extensive searches in the area where they lost the dog, between the Penygadair and Mynydd Moel peaks, they were unable to find the runaway and had to leave the mountain without her.

Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team said a significant number of friends, family and well-wishers headed back up the mountain on the following day, in fairly challenging weather conditions, to continue the search, but to no avail.

“Late on Monday afternoon, a searcher reported hearing what he thought was a dog whimpering in an area of steep craggy ground to the North-East of Llyn Cau,” a team spokesperson said. “This was an area he thought he might have heard a dog barking on Sunday, and had returned the following day to investigate.

“With a specific target to explore, the owners requested mountain rescue assistance.

“A call handler from the team spoke directly to the informant and from his description an area of interest was highlighted in the crags south of the summit ridge.

“With night rapidly falling, and rain falling even faster, a party of three team volunteers headed up the Minffordd Path to see if they could confirm the reported noise, but as suspected the weather was too bad to see or hear anything.”

As the rescuers arrived in Cwm Cau they spotted the owners’ torches high on the crag in the dark, trying to investigate this new information.

The spokesperson said: “Waiting until the anxious searchers returned down, there was a discussion about Betsy, the area where she was lost and the places searched over the last few days.

“They were desperate to find the dog, and it was apparent that they had been drifting into some hazardous ground in their quest to locate her. It was their stated intention to resume the search at first light the following day, and team co-ordinators felt that a mountain rescue presence on the hill might provide alternative options to them putting themselves at risk should the dog be spotted.”

Twelve Aberdyfi SRT volunteers agreed to take part in the search, beginning at 8.30am on Tuesday. One party, consisting of several of the team’s technical-rope-rescue technicians set out to approach the area of interest from above, while a second party headed into Cwm Cau to scan the crags with binoculars, and then to approach the area from underneath.

“In the event, the very poor weather meant that visibility was too poor to view the crags from the other side of the valley, so the second hill party made their way to the foot of the crag,” the spokesperson said. “As they approached the valley floor a dog was heard howling on the wind, and attempt were made to quantify current position and compass bearing to the origin of the noise.

“As calculations were underway to get an approximate position for the source of the noise, news came through that one of the owners had located the dog on a rocky buttress in the identified area, but was unable to reach her.”

The dog was in a suprisingly good condition, rescuers said. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

The dog was in a suprisingly good condition, rescuers said. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

Team members moved quickly into position and rigged a simple rope system to access the dog, who was cold and hungry but otherwise in surprisingly good condition given her three nights out in some appalling weather, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, other team members rigged hand-lines down the steep rocky slope to provide a quick and safe exit route. Betsy was quickly reunited with her owners, and everyone made their way safely back down to the car park. The rescue ended at 1pm.

Team member Graham O’Hanlon who took part in the search, said: “The team has rescued more than 40 dogs over the years, and we try to help where we can, especially where there is a danger that owners may get into difficulty trying to sort things out themselves.

“Many of the team have their own dogs, and fully empathised with what the owners must have been going through over the last few days. All the volunteers had made themselves available in full knowledge that this was a search for a dog.

“Such incidents also provide us with excellent training for crag search and rescue.”

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