Missing Scottish pensioner uses motorbike wing mirror to flag down rescue helicopter near Ben Bhraggie in Scottish Highlands

The 77-year-old spent a night on an exposed hillside in the Scottish Highlands.

A Scottish pensioner reported missing in the Highlands overnight was rescued after using his motorbike wing mirror to flag down a rescue helicopter.

George McGowan went mountain trailing in the Ben Bhraggie region near Golspie on his Beta Alp 200 motorcycle on Monday morning.

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A major search and rescue mission was launched to find the 77-year-old, after he failed to return home later that afternoon.

Assynt Mountain Rescue search teams crawled the hillside on Monday evening, with help from coastguard and police helicopters, but found no trace of Mr McGowan.

Efforts resumed early on Tuesday morning, and, nearly 24 hours after he was reported missing, Mr McGowan was found.

It later emerged that the pensioner had used his motorbike wing mirror to signal his location to a police helicopter that was flying overhead.

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A Scottish pensioner reported missing in the Highlands overnight was rescued after using his motorbike wing mirror to flag down a rescue helicopter. (Credit: Assynt Mountain Rescue)

John Murray, a local businessman who had joined the search for Mr McGowan, speaking to The Press and Journal, said: ““They found him because he was waving the mirror of his motorbike.

“The helicopter pilot said had he not done that they wouldn’t have seen him.

“He was just at the back of the Ben. He was in a kind of plantation bit where they were doing new fences.”

Explaining his decision to join the searches, Mr Murray said: “We were concerned, particularly the kind of day it was on Monday as it was not very nice.

George McGowan went mountain trailing in the Ben Bhraggie region near Golspie on his Beta Alp 200 motorcycle on Monday morning.
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“We had heard it was somebody local and on a motorbike, and somebody that was elderly. That’s what spurred us on.”

Mr McGowan was treated by paramedics at the scene, but it not thought to have suffered any major injuries.

Chief Inspector Jamie Wilson said: "We are grateful to all of the public volunteers who helped with our enquiries, as well as our partners from Assynt Mountain Rescue Team, HM Coastguard, the fire service and SARDA for their assistance with searches."

Assynt Mountain Rescue search teams crawled the hillside on Monday evening, with help from coastguard and police helicopters, but found no trace of Mr McGowan. (Credit: Assynt Mountain Rescue)

In a post on Facebook, the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team wrote: “We would like to thank all those involved, especially local community support with transport and food and coffee.”

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