Climbers rescued from Ben Nevis fined for driving 100 miles to get there

Two people have been issued with fixed penalty notices after they drove 100 miles from Glasgow to Fort William to climb Ben Nevis.

They got into difficulties while climbing Minus 2 Gully on Saturday, sparking a helicopter call-out and the first mission of the year for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.

Some 20 members of the team went to help pluck the pair off the UK’s highest mountain and take them back to safety in Fort William. There they were given the once over by paramedics and met by police who promptly gave them both fines for breaching Covid regulations.

As the helicopter returned to base, they were called back to help with another rescue on Creag Meagaidh.

Again the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was involved and managed to get the two people off the mountain by around 11pm. They were experienced local climbers and it was found that no Covid regulations had been breached on the second call-out.

The mountain rescue team yesterday took to social media to ‘Please continue to respect travel restrictions’.

The message said: ‘We thought we were heading for our first ever callout-free January but just like buses, two came along at once last night. The first, in Minus 2 Gully on Ben Nevis, was swiftly dealt with.

‘The second on Creag Meaghaidh was a little more challenging for the eight team members dropped onto the summit plateau but, all in all, a successful rescue with all parties home and safe.’

Malcolm Macintyre, support manager at Braemar Mountain Rescue, urged hill walkers to ‘keep it reasonable’ during lockdown, and not risk adding additional pressure on the NHS and emergency services.

He said: ‘It’s very difficult. I totally understand why people are trying to get out and do stuff, it’s hard times for everybody, and I feel in a very privileged position in that I live 10 minutes from Glenshee hills, and so I can out my backdoor and go mountaineering.

‘So on one level I understand the frustration that people have got, but I just think for the good of everybody, people have got to do the right thing, so that means sticking to the guidelines and not travelling out of your area.

‘People should be sensible, take it easy, and not push themselves. Save the heroics for when lockdown lifts. Let’s just keep it reasonable just now.’

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