MEMBERS of a search team battling to find trace of a man missing in the mountains following the discovery yesterday of the body of his brother have been hampered by heavy snow in treacherous conditions.
Alan (56) and Neil Gibson (63) set off on a hill walk at around 7.45am on Thursday in the Achnashellach area but were reported missing when they failed to return.
Their diappearance sparked a massive search invovling two mountain rescue teams, a coastguard helicopter and specially trained police dogs.
On Saturday, police reported the recovery of Alan Gibson's body. A search for his brother Neil continued today in challenging conditions with "considerable avalanche risks".
Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team leader Donald MacRae said this evening that the team had been supporting supported Torridon MRT in a three-day search for the missing walkers.
The team was deployed to search Fuar Tholl and Sgorr Ruadh on Saturday and an area of hill ground North of Beinn Liath Mhor today.
Conditions on both days were described as "full-on winter with considerable avalanche risks". Today's search was hampered by frequent, heavy snow showers. Fifteen team members were deployed each day.
Mr MacRae said: "Sadly today’s search [Sunday] proved fruitless despite a strong effort. Heavy snow showers hampered our searches on Sunday, but despite this we managed to search a good area but we were unable to locate the missing person and the dog. Our thoughts remain with the Gibson family at this very difficult time.
"As we descended the hill this afternoon we received a call from the Police following a call for help from a group of hill walkers lost on Ben Wyvis. A number of team members were deployed to assist. The group managed to make their way off the hill safely.
"As winter conditions persist in the Scottish hills, I would remind hill walkers and climbers to be well prepared for poor conditions. It is essential that everyone has a map of the area they intend to go into along with a compass, and know how to use it.
"If you are intending to travel over snow or ice then crampons and an Ice axe are a must and again you must know how to use these effectively. Wearing brightly coloured outer garments can help us locate missing people. It is also worth knowing that mobile phones may not work when temperatures are well below freezing.
"Whilst Mountain Rescue Teams will always, willingly give of their time to help lost or injured climbers, over 90 team members have been out over this weekend across the Scottish Highlands.”
This story will be updated.