The alarm was raised just after 6.30pm on Thursday when two men – Mike and Chris – found themselves stuck on a small ledge near the bottom of the Old Man of Stoer, a sea stack near the village of Stoer, Sutherland.
Speaking after the incident, Mike said: “I didn’t want to call really, I kept thinking we could get out of it, but the weather was just getting worse and worse, and I started to get really worried about Chris.
“He was much further down the stack than I was, and I kept losing sight of him – he was getting battered by the waves and the sea spray was making everything really difficult, there were moments when I thought he was gone."
The Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was sent to the scene, as well as Coastguard Rescue teams from Achiltibuie, Kinlochbervie and Ullapool.
Lochinver RNLI lifeboat and Police Scotland also attended.
The men were winched to safety by the helicopter and taken to Lochinver where they were passed into the care of the coastguard rescue teams.
Chris added: “It barely seemed possible to carry out an operation in those conditions so close to the stack but they did it.
“If the sea had gotten just a bit stormier, all it would have taken was one wave to sweep us away.”
Captain Will MacLeod, from the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter at Stornoway, said: “This was a potentially life-threatening situation for all involved – the two men who became isolated, and the teams of coastguard rescuers, police and volunteers who responded.
“The Old Man of Stoer is a popular location for climbers but weather can rapidly deteriorate and, particularly at this time of year as we come out of the summer months, rising waves and high winds from the Atlantic Ocean present significant risks that anyone moving around the coast can expect to encounter.
“Thankfully we were able to return these men to safety without injury however, the situation could have been far worse had weather conditions become more severe.”