Scottish Highlands deaths: Two bodies discovered in mountains as climbers hit by severe winter weather

Alex Matthews-King
Cold weather and snow in 2018 have made the Scottish Highlands treacherous: Rex

The bodies of two men have been found in the Scottish Highlands by mountain rescue services.

One has been identified as Jim Stalker, 55, a keen hill walker who has been missing since 11 February after falling through an overhanging edge of snow on the mountain Beinn a’Chaorainn.

A team of 38 people, including volunteers and members of Lochaber, Tayside and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams assisted by the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter, were part of the search effort.

Mr Stalker’s fall from the 3,440ft peak had been reported by his climbing partner who descended the Scottish munro (a mountain with a height of over 3,000 feet) to report it, but rescue service leaders said conditions had made the search difficult.

Separately, another man’s body was discovered on Saturday, apparently after falling from Sgurr Thuilm, a mountain north of Glenfinnan, and has yet to be formally identified.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Fort William police would like to extend their condolences to Jim’s family and friends and thank all who have been involved in searching for him.”

​Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said they had attended three call-outs on Saturday.

In a statement on Facebook, they said: “We had 38 people on Beinn a’Chaorainn. Thanks to the Tayside team and RAF Lossie who assisted us.

“We had two other calls, one in Glenfinnan area and one on Ben Nevis. Special thanks to R951 who provided brilliant support all day.

“It was a day of fantastic effort by all the people involved in all the rescues, unfortunately tinged with more than a fair bit of sadness.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all the casualties we have had on Scottish mountains this winter.

“Today we have reached 20 call outs with over 3,300 volunteer hours on rescues this year. Please stay safe.”

Two other men missing on Scotland’s hills this winter have yet to be found.

Neil Gibson, 63, failed to return from a planned walk with his brother in the Achnashellach area in Strathcarron on 8 February.

The body of his brother, Alan, was found two days later in the Beinn Liath Mhor area and the remains of their dog were recovered this week, but Mr Gibson has not been located.

Marcin Bialas, 36, was reported missing in an area close to Observatory Gully and Gardyloo Gully on Ben Nevis on 21 January, but helicopter and foot searches have found no trace of him.

Additional reporting by PA