Rescue teams in 16-hour mission in the Cuillins

Some 28 personnel from three mountain rescue teams were involved in a 16-hour search to find two stricken Cuillin climbers last weekend.

The pair were eventually escorted — one on a stretcher — 3,000 feet down Sgurr nan Gillean in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The alarm was raised shortly before 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon after one of the men fell and suffered extensive injuries to the leg and kneecap. Initially the location given to rescuers was the “tourist route” up Sgurr nan Gillean, though as it turned out the climbers had ventured some way of this course.
In deteriorating weather the rescue helicopter from Stornoway coastguard station was able to transport rescuers part of the way, though the inclement conditions meant the bulk of the work was done on foot.
In all 20 members of the Skye mountain rescue team, five from Glenelg and three from Kintail were involved in helping to stretcher the injured man and assist his climbing partner down the 3,000 feet, arriving at ground level at 7.30 on Sunday morning. The injured man was then airlifted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for treatment to his leg injuries.

Skye Mountain Rescue team leader Gerry Akroyd said: “Rescue 100 managed to get the guys up as far as Coire Rhiabach, but coming back involved some pretty serious leg-work — it was a little like the old days.”

Meanwhile, a phone call to the tourist information centre in Edinburgh helped launch a recent seven-hour rescue in Trotternish on Skye.

Two French women had been on a two-day walk on the Trotternish Ridge when they became lost in misty conditions. With their phone losing battery power the women were able to leave a message with the one Scottish contact they had — the Edinburgh Tourist Office. From there the workers in the capital made contact with their colleagues on Skye before the alarm was eventually raised with the island’s mountain rescue team.

Eventually, with the aid of 16 MRT members and police search and rescue dogs, the pair were located in their tent in the Lealt area. Though shaken, they were escorted down safely.

Another pair of walkers also had a lucky escape after attempting a Saturday-evening walk in the Cuillins.
On Saturday 16th September the man and woman set off from Sligachan at 6pm, aiming to reach Camasunary bothy later that night. But as the weather closed in the pair lost their bearings on the footpath, and made a call for emergency help. Soaked and fatigued the pair would eventually be picked up by mountain rescuers in the early hours of the morning, some four miles off their intended course.

MRT leader Gerry Akroyd said: “They had thought it was a straightforward walk that would take them about two hours, but they were ill equipped. They were lucky, but we got them back bedraggled — they won’t be trying that again.”