Highlands & Islands

Base jumper 'lucky' to survive hitting rock face on An Teallach

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Media captionBase jumper 'lucky' to survive after hitting rock face

A base jumper has said he was lucky to survive being blown into a rock face before falling into "vicious" terrain.

Sam Percival had jumped from a pinnacle 1,030m (3,379ft) up on the An Teallach ridge in Wester Ross.

His parachute was caught by a gust of wind and he was turned around and blown against a face of the pinnacle.

Falling to the ground, he rolled over rocky ground before sliding over a ledge. A pile of rocks stopped his fall and he climbed back to the ridge.

Mr Percival, one of a group of experienced base jumpers on An Teallach last Thursday, suffered only minor injuries at the pinnacle, which is known as Lord Berkeley's Seat.

The outdoor instructor was bruised and he sprained a wrist and an ankle. A mountain rescue team that went to his aid said Mr Percival must have a "guardian angel" and was "lucky to survive".

Image copyright Jack Blundy
Image caption Mr Percival was blown against a rock face after his parachute was caught by a gust of wind

Mr Percival, 35, of Lancashire, told BBC Scotland he was admiring the beauty of the area when he suddenly went into a "huge centrifugal spin".

He fought to regain control before hitting the rock face and falling.

After rolling, he said: "From that point on it was pure luck and it worked in my favour.

"I fell quite a long way and hit slope, not the sort of slope you would ever want to sit and slide down on, it was really vicious territory."

Mr Percival managed to control his slide until he went over a ledge.

Image caption Mr Percival walked away from his fall with bruises and a sprained wrist and ankle

He said: "At that point I thought 'I've had enough of this. Whatever happens happens."

Fortunately, Mr Percival slid into a pile of loose rock and he stopped falling.

Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team and Inverness Coastguard helicopter were called to help Mr Percival, an experienced base jumper, safely down from the ridge.

Donald Macrae, Dundonnell team leader, said: "This is the first time we've been called out to a base-jumping incident.

"To say this young man is lucky to be alive is something of an understatement - he must have a guardian angel.

"He came very close indeed to a long vertical drop which he would not have survived."

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