South Scotland

Motorists stranded in heavy snow in Dumfries and Galloway thank rescuers

Jarek Grudowski and Piotr Bukolt in rescue vehicle Image copyright Moffat Mountain Rescue Team
Image caption Jarek Grudowski and Piotr Bukolt were rescued in severe weather on Tuesday night.

Two Polish businessmen who became stuck in heavy snow in southern Scotland have thanked their rescuers.

The men encountered the severe conditions as they travelled from Edinburgh to Dumfries, via the A702 in Dumfries and Galloway on Tuesday night.

They were among 12 people who were rescued after vehicles including a tanker, bus and several cars were abandoned on the Dalveen Pass.

Rescue teams said they encountered 18 inches (45cm) of snow and strong winds.

Jarek Grudowski and Piotr Bukolt were about 30 miles from their destination when their car became stuck in snow near Durisdeer.

Image copyright Moffat Mountain Rescue Team
Image caption The rescue operation at Dalveen Pass came after days of wintry conditions in Scotland

"There was extremely heavy snow," Mr Grudowski told BBC Scotland.

"We were stuck, the car couldn't move. In front of us there were a few trucks and some other cars which were also abandoned already."

Fortunately, a rescue team soon appeared and took the men to their hotel.

Mr Grudowski said: "I would like to thank the mountain rescue team because they helped us immediately and took us to the hotel so we were on time."

Mr Bukolt was also relieved.

"Yes I was happy," he said. "This is the best business trip with Jarek in my life."

A large swathe of the south of Scotland was covered by a Met Office amber weather warning of snow while the rescue operation took place on Tuesday.

Charlie McCreedie was one of the four members of the Moffat Mountain Rescue Team who were on standby.

He said they got the call to go to the Dalveen Pass on the A702, between the M74 and A76, after 21:00.

"The A76 was completely clear, but when you got to the higher ground it was snowing quite heavily," he said.

"The road was completely blocked then by vehicles and snow."

Image copyright Moffat Mountain Rescue Team
Image caption Drivers and passengers were taken to safety by members of Moffat Mountain Rescue Team

Mr McCreedie and his team brought two off-road vehicles, but had to wait a further hour for a snow plough to clear the path to safety.

He said the 12 people they helped - including a bus passenger - were "starting to look cold and weary".

"They were pleased to get into the Land Rover," he added.

With weather warnings in place and forecasts predicting further wintry weather over the coming days, Mr McCreedie urged drivers to plan ahead and not make unnecessary journeys.

He said: "It's just Scotland in the winter, you really need to be prepared.

"It is always worth having something in your car in case you do get stuck. Try and listen to the police and weather forecast.

"If you can avoid your journey, avoid your journey."