ONE climber has died, and 17 others have been rescued on Britain’s highest mountain.
Poor weather conditions are understood to have led to the tragedy which saw a 28-year-old man fall more than 800ft as he descended Ben Nevis shortly after reaching the 1,345m summit.
A group of 12 soldiers, together with five others, are believed to have attempted to reach the stricken climber, but succumbed to the deteriorating conditions.
Police Scotland said the alarm was raised on Tuesday afternoon. Two coastguard helicopters and the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were dispatched to the area.
“Emergency services and mountain rescue colleagues attended to assist 17 people off the mountain,” a spokesperson said.
“We can confirm that a 28-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.
“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a full report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
Two men from the group of 17 – a 29-year-old and a 37-year-old – were treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital.
Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team on Ben Nevis
On its Facebook page, the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said it had attended a dozen incidents since Saturday – three of which resulted in fatalities.
“The past five days have been especially busy for the team,” a post read.
“Since Saturday we’ve had 12 callouts and recovered 26 casualties. Unfortunately, three of these shouts resulted in fatalities and we’d like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of those involved at this difficult time.
“It would be remiss if we didn’t stress just how important it is to be adequately prepared for winter in the hills. Having the ability to competently navigate with map and compass as well as having and being able to use crampons and axe are vital skills to have if you’re venturing into the hills.
“Once again, to members of the public on the hill, team members, neighbouring teams who assisted, helicopter crews, those who fed and watered us and those who continue to generously donate – thank you!”
Anyone wishing to donate to the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team can do so via Just Giving… https://justgiving.com/lmrt
Walker still missing on Stob Copire Nam Beith
Meanwhile, hopes of finding a 43-year-old walker from Kilmarnock who went missing on Sunday near the top of Stob Coire Nam Beith are fading.
Neil Gillingham was last seen around 1.30pm close to the 1,150m summit after planning a route from the Hidden Valley car park to Stob Coire Nam Beith via Bidean Nam Bian before descending.
Several mountain rescue teams and helicopter patrols have been unable to locate Mr Gillingham, although his dog – a spaniel named ‘Cooper’ – has been found.
He was wearing a blue Rab jacket, black trousers, and brown walking boots. Mr Gillinghamis described as 5ft 8in tall, of stocky build with receding fair hair and blue eyes.
“Neil did not return as planned from a walk in Glencoe and extensive search activity is now ongoing to locate him,” said Sergeant Leigh Brown of Fort William Police.
“I would urge anyone who believes they may have seen or spoken to him at any time since he was last seen near the top of Stob Coire Nam Beith on Sunday afternoon to get in touch urgently.
“Anyone with information can call 101, quoting reference 3012 of 6 March, 2022.”