Tributes have been pouring in for a “lovely, caring” Selkirk woman who died after being struck by lightning while hiking near Glencoe at the weekend.
Isobel Bytautas, 55, died on Na Gruagaichean in the Mamore Range near Kinlochleven on Saturday.
She had been walking with the Linlithgow Ramblers when the tragedy occurred at 5.42pm.
Her daughter Ashley wrote on Facebook: “Never did I ever think I would have to write this. Last night dad and I received the most heartbreaking news imaginable, my beautiful mother and his wife is gone. I can’t process it. It doesn’t seem real. I’m broken.
“Whilst out on the mountains at Fort William yesterday with the Linlithgow Ramblers, a group of seven were struck by lightning.
“Mum died instantly, a freak one in a million accident you never think is possible. Can’t imagine life without her, I’m lost.”
Another woman was airlifted to hospital where her condition was described as stable.
John Allen, chairman of Linlithgow Ramblers, said that the group was shocked and saddened.
He said: “First and foremost our thoughts go out to Isobel’s family at this hugely difficult time.
“Our thoughts are also with the other members of the group, who are all now home safely having endured something no one wishes to experience.
“Isobel’s first walk with the Linlithgow Ramblers was, as I recall, back in April of 2017. A munro in Glen Etive called Beinn nan Aighenan. Isobel was attracted to the Linlithgow group by their walk programme which included a good number of munros.
“From that very first occasion, Isobel just fitted in so easily no matter who and the size of the group.
“Isobel was a lovely lady and great company out on the hills. She was always ready to chat away like you had known her forever. Isobel became well known within the group, joined us on weekends away and was always keen for an adventure. She had a passion for walking in the hills and walking in new places.
“Isobel was a very caring person and it has been a privilege to have walked with her.”
He added that the group would honour Mrs Bytautas by keeping the memories of her alive beside them when out in the hills.
Commenting on Facebook, former colleague Hazel Morris said: “Used to work next to her, what a lovely lady she was and fantastic at her job. Such a shock. Sending my love to all her family at this heartbreaking time.”
Ann Ewing added: “So so sad, my thoughts are with you my lovely. RIP beautiful woman.”
Ms Bytautas was walking with a group of seven hikers from the Linlithgow Ramblers when the lightning strike happened.
Inspector Isla Campbell said: “We are grateful for the prompt and professional response from partner agencies to this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the lady’s family.”
A statement from Police Scotland added: “At 5.42pm on Saturday, June 8, Police Scotland were alerted to an incident where two members of a walking group comprising seven people had been struck by lightning and injured.
“The party were traced on Na Gruagaichean in the Mamore Range near Kinlochleven.
“Two casualties and the rest of their party were airlifted to Fort William.
“Sadly, a woman aged 55 years died as a result of her injuries.”