A party of four adults, and one child, set off mid-morning to climb Ben Lomond by the ‘Tourist Path’ from Rowardennan car park. Two of the younger adults, chose to carry on to the summit, separating from the group high on the mountain. On their descent, due to the darkness, the pair made a navigational error. When they failed to return to the car park the alarm was raised.
Lomond MRT was called out at 17.20. Search teams were quickly deployed from both sides of Ben Lomond, searching paths and the open hillside in worsening weather. Heavy rain and snow showers sweeping in from the West meant limited visibility and gave increasing concern. Wet snow pack, on the plateau, reached thigh depth nearer the summit path zig-zags. Bristows Rescue 951 attended in support - but weather conditions prevented deployment higher on the mountain.
The two walkers were eventually met by Team members, very cold and wet, at Comer Farm on the North side on Ben Lomond at 21.42. Our thanks to all at Comer Farm for warming, feeding and drying out the walkers.
The duo were not equipped for tackling a Munro in full winter conditions. Their footwear was inadequate, without torches, ice axes or crampons and their partly charged batteries on their mobile phones had died. It is clear that they did not fully comprehend the dangers of winter walking. On a difficult descent in the dark, they fell a number of times and were extremely fortunate to survive their experience uninjured.
Lomond MRT would like to remind hill walkers that, despite the recent warm and wet weather, Scotland’s mountain are experiencing full winter conditions. Waterproof warm clothing, a fully charged phone, food and drink, a torch and axe and crampons are basics that are essential for safe travel.
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