Durham van traveller Esther Dingley missing in Pyrenees

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Selfie of Esther on mountain topImage source, Esther Dingley
Image caption,
Esther Dingley sent this photo of her at the top of a mountain on Sunday

A British woman who has spent six years on a campervan tour of Europe has gone missing while walking in the Pyrenees.

Esther Dingley, 37, last spoke to her partner Dan Colegate via Whatsapp last Sunday, when she was atop Pic de Sauvegarde on the France Spain border.

She had been due to end her solo trek on Wednesday but has not been seen.

French authorities confirmed they were searching for Ms Dingley, and Mr Colegate said he was "broken" and "shattered" by her disappearance.

Ms Dingley had been travelling in the couple's camper van while Mr Colegate stayed at a farm in the Gascony area of France.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Esther had been walking in the area around Pic Sauvegarde

Mr Colegate said she had been away for a month and their last conversation had been about "how excited we were to see each other as this was her last trip before driving back".

Her last known location was on top of the mountain at about 16:00 GMT on 22 November.

Ms Dingley had started walking from Benasque in Spain on Saturday and had a plan to spend Sunday night at Refuge Venasque in France, Mr Colegate said.

He said searches had yielded "no sign at all" and temperatures were dropping with light snow fall in the area.

Image source, Dan Colegate
Image caption,
Experienced walker Esther has completed solo treks before

She has previously completed solo treks, and Mr Colegate said: "She always tried to keep in touch but sometimes on her hikes was out of contact for a couple of days.

"This is not looking good."

The couple had lived in Durham before deciding to pack up their lives and go travelling after Mr Colegate nearly died from an infection.

In a post on Facebook, the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne, said it was "actively looking" for Ms Dingley.

Mr Colegate, who has gone to the Luchon area to help look for his partner of 18 years, said helicopters and dogs have been involved in the search but have so far found "no trace".

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