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Cape Wrath runners airlifted to hospital


By Mike Merritt

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The men were rescued by coastguard helicopter
The men were rescued by coastguard helicopter

Two ultra-marathon runners were airlifted to hospital early yesterday after a "challenging" overnight rescue in the north west Highlands.

The alarm was first raised at 11.30pm on Saturday when they failed to return from a run on the arduous Cape Wrath trail, from Kinlochewe to Cachan Church.

The 200 mile plus trek is the UK's toughest long distance trail – especially in winter.

Torridon and Dundonnell mountain rescue teams were called to find the missing men in "challenging conditions".

There was "very deep snow" in places and rivers and burns were in full spate.

Rescuers searched nearby bothies and traced the runners' planned route on a "very wet cold night" in a bid to find the men.

They were found near Loch an Nid at about 2.15 am by coastguard rescue helicopter 151 from Inverness.

The men were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for treatment for mild hypothermia. Their condition is unknown.

A spokesman for Dundonnell MRT said it had been a "full team callout".

"Fourteen members turned out on a very wet cold night to look for the two overdue ultra marathon runners.

"The team were deployed to look into both bothies at Shenavall (and) Achneigie and to walk the path up to Loch an Nid, also another party sent to look in Lochivraon bothy. Torridon MRT set out from Kinlochewe up on to the heights tracing the runners' path.

"At 2.15am both men were located by Rescue 151 just north of Loch An Nid and airlifted to Raigmore for treatment for mild hypothermia.

"Team recalled back to Dundonnell and stood down home for 5am. Great inter agency interaction to help resolve this incident successfully."

A spokesman for Torridon MRT added:"Conditions were challenging with very deep snow in places. Rivers and water courses are in full spate at the moment so please take care. We were pleased to hear that the two missing persons were located near Loch an Nid and airlifted out for treatment. Our best wishes go to them."

Kinlochewe to Loch an Nid is a 11.3 mile point-to-point trail located near Achnasheen, and is said to be only recommended for very experienced adventurers.

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