Tayside and Central Scotland

Walkers criticised after Ben Lomond rescue

Rescue Image copyright Ian Dawson
Image caption Lomond Mountain Rescue Team were called out to search for the lost walkers

A rescue team has criticised two poorly equipped hillwalkers who got lost in the dark on Ben Lomond and ended up on the wrong side of the mountain.

The pair lost their way on the descent and finally made their way to an isolated farm north of the mountain.

Lomond Mountain Rescue Team, who were involved in the search, said their footwear was "inadequate" and they had no torches, ice axes or crampons.

The walkers were located at Comer Farm about 22:00 on Sunday.

They were part of a group of four adults and one child that set off earlier in the day for the summit of 974m (3,195ft) Ben Lomond via the main tourist path from Rowardennan.

Three stopped before the top because of the poor weather conditions, but two younger adults in the party continued to the top.

'Very cold'

The three waited for a while and then returned to Rowardennan. They alerted rescuers when their friends had not arrived back by about 17:00.

Members of rescue team searched the main hill paths from Rowardennan and Comer in blustery, cold weather before the pair were found.

A helicopter was used to search the lower parts of the mountain, but could not get up to summit level because of the weather.

The rescue team said the hillwalkers turned up "very cold and wet" at Comer Farm at 21.47. It is understood they lost the main path on the descent and then spotted the farmhouse lights.

A rescue team spokesman said they were not equipped for tackling a Munro in "full winter conditions". As well as being poorly equipped, the walkers' mobile phones died because the batteries had not been fully charged before they left.

The spokesman added: "It is clear that they did not fully comprehend the dangers of winter walking.

"On their descent in the dark, they fell a number of times and were extremely fortunate to survive their experience uninjured, taking into account the snow and heavy rain on the mountain last night.

"Lomond MRT would like to remind hillwalkers that, despite the recent warm and wet weather, Scotland's mountain are experiencing full winter conditions.

"Waterproof warm clothing, a fully charged phone, food and drink, a torch and axe and crampons are basics that are essential for safe travel."

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