Published: 08/11/2017 16:46 - Updated: 08/11/2017 16:49

Climber winched to safety from Assynt peak

Written byMike Merritt


Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and a Coastguard helicopter was called to the aid of the injured climber.
Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and a Coastguard helicopter was called to the aid of the injured climber.


A hillwalker was airlifted off a mountain after falling on a trek to reach an iconic Sutherland peak.

Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was tasked at 1pm on Tuesday after the man, in his 50s, was injured while trying to reach the summit of 3274-ft high Ben More Assynt - about 19 miles north of Ullapool.

The helicopter transferred the man - who was a visitor to the area - into the care of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team.

Sue Agnew, leader of Assynt MRT, who with team member Andy Dawson went to the aid of the walker, said he was in a party of three and was between Conival and Ben More Assynt when he had a "classic trip."

"He was at about 880 metres (2887 feet) when he was injured. He was heading to the summit of Ben More Assynt but did not make it," said Sue.

"Our concern was over the deteriorating weather, daylight and location, so we took the decision with Police Scotland to request air support.

"But the turbulence meant that the helicopter could not land.

"So the injured man was winched to us at roadside - while the others in the party made their own way off.

"We gave him a cup of tea, which went down well after such a shock, before taking him to the doctor at Lochinver. It looks like he had a suspected sprain which can be very nasty injury out on the hill."

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the walker was well equipped.

Ben More Assynt is one of the most poignant of mountains.

In April 1941, all six of the crew on board an Avro Anson were killed when the aircraft crashed on Ben More Assynt. Due to the inaccessibility of the crash site, the crew were buried on the mountain – their final resting places marked with a cairn.

Two thousand feet up, the burial site is one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s most remote grave sites in the UK and the logistics of replacing the original deteriorating cairn in 2013 proved challenging. In the end, a Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham had to be used to carry a new granite memorial to the burial site.

The memorial now marks the spot where Pilot Officer William Drew, Sergeant Jack Emery, Sergeant Harold Arthur Tompsett, Flying Officer James Henry Steyn, Sergeant Charles McPherson Mitchell and Flight Sergeant Thomas Brendon Kenny lost their lives when their aircraft crashed.

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