Cairngorms couple were ‘waist high’ in snow before rescue

Robert and Cathy Elmer were rescued with their dog from Cairngorm mountain. Picture: Peter Jolly.
Robert and Cathy Elmer were rescued with their dog from Cairngorm mountain. Picture: Peter Jolly.
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A couple who were forced to spend the night in the Cairngorms in white-out conditions have spoken of their relief when they saw their rescuers approach.

Robert and Cathy Elmer, from Leicestershire, were reported missing on Sunday night when they failed to return from a New Year’s Day walk with their collie dog.

The couple, who are both aged in their 50s, were forced to take shelter in a bivvy bag after bad weather closed in while they were walking in the Glenmore area.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team started searching on Sunday night but could find no trace of the couple.

The search resumed on Monday morning, with Police Scotland, the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Team, Braemar Mountain Rescue Team and the Coastguard helicopter all involved.

They were found with their dog at around 12pm and were walked to safety.

Mr Elmer told BBC Scotland: “The snow was at times up to our waists.

“We eventually got out on to the plateau with the intention of trying to find the summit of Cairngorm, then my headlamp gave up so we decided we couldn’t go on any further.

“We didn’t know really where we were going. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, so we decided to get the survival bags out.”

Speaking to STV News, he added: “It was white-out with a wind - I don’t think you can know until you experience it. The mountains can be dangerous.

“We’re so grateful to the mountain rescue. It was such a relief to see them.”

Cairngorm rescue team leader Willie Anderson said the bivvy bags they had with them “saved their lives”.

He said: “They misjudged how long their walk would take them, and then the cloud closed in and it started snowing.

“They were a bit disorientated but at least they had a bivvy bag to shelter them. That probably saved their lives.”