Ben Hope deaths: Two walkers killed in mountain fall
Two hillwalkers have died after falling on Ben Hope in Sutherland.
The bodies of the men were found by a Coastguard helicopter crew on the north-west side of the mountain at about 02:00 on Wednesday.
Concerns had been raised for two men in difficulty at about 15:45 on Tuesday. The search operation also invovled a number of mountain rescue teams.
Police Scotland said both bodies had been recovered and taken off the mountain.
Insp Kevin Macleod said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of both of these men at this tragic time.
"I would also like to pass on our gratitude to the volunteers of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team for their efforts in extremely challenging conditions."
Assynt Mountain Rescue Team, Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service were all thanked by Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR), an organisation representing mountain rescue teams.
SMR said in a post on social media: "We are extremely sad to hear that two climbers have died on Ben Hope.
"Our thoughts are with the friends and families of these two men at this terribly tragic time."
SMR added: "Thank you to Assynt Mountain Rescue Team, Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service, Police Scotland, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and all the other emergency services for your outstanding efforts over the last two days during this difficult incident."
Ben Hope, in the north Highlands, is Scotland's most northerly Munro, rising to a height of 927m (3,041ft).
The two hillwalkers are the latest in a number of mountain casualties this winter.
In November, a 52-year-old woman died and her daughter, 23, was treated in hospital after they got into difficulty on a hillwalking trip between Glen Etive and Glen Coe.
They were found by Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team and a coastguard helicopter after being forced to spend the night in the hills.
Shortly after, on New Year's Day, a climber died in a fall from a ridge.
The 21-year-old University of Bristol student from Germany was not named by police.