THE bodies of a man and woman found on Ben Nevis are that of a couple missing since February, police have said.
Experienced climbers Rachel Slater, 24 and Tim Newton, 27, were reported missing after failing to return from a climb on Britain’s highest mountain.
Multiple searches by rescue teams had been carried out for the couple, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, with efforts hampered by hazardous weather and avalanche risks.
The alarm was raised for the pair on Monday, 15 February when they were reported overdue in returning from an expedition.Police Scotland said on Wednesday night that two bodies had been found and confirmed yesterday they are those of the missing climbers.
Seasoned climber Ms Slater was a graduate of Manchester University and employed as an environmental consultant near Bradford. She spent some time living and climbing in Canada, where her parents are still based.
Mr Newton, originally from Leicester, studied physics at Manchester and Leeds universities. He joined Hinckley Mountaineering Club in Leicestershire in 2010 before he moved away to university, with fellow climbers there calling him a natural.
The families of Rachel and Tim said they could now move forward with their lives, taking comfort from the fact they died doing what they loved. They said in a statement issued through police: “We would like to thank the mountain rescue teams, climbing community, police in Fort William and all concerned for finding Rachel and Tim, bringing the news we have been waiting for and for their sustained efforts over the last six weeks.
“These brave and generous men and women have worked incredibly hard to find Rachel and Tim in difficult and dangerous conditions.
“The Lochaber mountain rescue team, police, climbers, friends, family and wider community near and far have been overwhelmingly supportive, generous and kind throughout this difficult time. We have received thoughts, prayers and messages of kindness from all over the world.
“Although much anticipated, it still comes as a shock but we are thankful that we can now move forward with our lives in the knowledge that Rachel and Tim were doing what they loved to do.
“Climbing was their passion, they loved the mountains, wilderness and outdoor spaces.”