Res­cue team hits out at abuse as 999 caller found safe and well

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By MAR­TYN MCLAUGH­LIN mm­claugh­[email protected]­

A moun­tain res­cue team has con­demned the “to­tal abuse” of its re­sources af­ter a hill­walker sparked a haz­ardous res­cue op­er­a­tion in “hor­ren­dous” win­try conditions, only to be found sleep­ing safely in a bothy.

A 16 strong-group from Cairn­gorm Moun­tain Res­cue Team trav­elled more than 16 miles in a 12 hour-long op­er­a­tion be­set by heavy rain, snow­fall and 60mph winds as Storm Brendan bat­tered swathes of the coun­try.

The op­er­a­tion was prompted af­ter a 999 call around 4pm on Mon­day, alert­ing the team to an “in­jured” walker on a path by Ben Alder, south of Dal­whin­nie in the High­lands.

Ac­cord­ing to Wil­lie An­der­son, the team leader, the caller ex­plained he was with a party of three, but had been sep­a­rated in the poor conditions.

“He was soaked and find­ing the conditions tough and said he had in­jured his leg,”

Mr An­der­son re­called. How­ever, when the team even­tu­ally lo­cated the man, in his 20s, around 4am yes­ter­day morn­ing, he was al­ready re­united with his com­pan­ions and “wrapped up” in a sleep­ing bag in Mc­cook’s Bothy on the Ben Alder es­tate.

Cairn­gorm MRT de­scribed the in­ci­dent as a “to­tal abuse” of its re­sources, with the sup­posed in­jury suf­fered by the walker, from Ed­in­burgh, amount­ing to no more than a “sore ten­don”.

“To say we were not happy would be an un­der­state­ment,” Mr An­der­son said.

“We were walk­ing into the teeth of the storm in dark­ness with winds gust­ing at 60mph, and with sleet, snow and rain. It was hor­ren­dous and re­ally dan­ger­ously wet un­der­foot.

“Even­tu­ally we found them wrapped up in sleep­ing bags in the bothy. They were left in no doubt about our feel­ings.”

Mr An­der­son added: “We said ‘why didn’t you call to tell us that he was OK and had made it to the bothy?’ We re­ally didn’t get a sat­is­fac­tory an­swer.”

It comes as se­vere weather conditions con­tin­ued to cause dis­rup­tion across parts of Scot­land yes­ter­day.

Dozens of Cale­do­nian Macbrayne ser­vices were sub­ject to can­cel­la­tion or dis­rup­tion, with the firm can­celling sail­ings to­day on its three Mal­laig ser­vices and the Ar­drossan to Brod­wick cross­ing. Dam­age to over­head lines also led to dis­rup­tion on Sco­trail’s In­ver­clyde and Ayr­shire routes.

A Met Of­fice yel­low warn­ing was in place un­til mid­night for very strong winds across the Western Isles, Ar­gyll and Bute, and the western High­lands. The Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency had 28 out­stand­ing flood warn­ings yes­ter­day evening.

The Met Of­fice’s Oli Clay­don said the north and west of the coun­try could be hit by winds of up to 70mph from Storm Brendan.

0 Cairn­gorm Moun­tain Res­cue Team bat­tled heavy rain, snow and 60mph winds

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