BLIZZARDS and risk of avalanches are hampering the Wester Ross search for missing Nairn hillwalker Neil Gibson whose brother Alan’s body was recovered at the weekend.
Neil Gibson (63) failed to return after setting out with his brother early last Thursday to climb a group of Munros, north of Strathcarron.
The body of 56-year-old Alan was found in sub-zero conditions by rescuers on Saturday evening.
The brothers and their black pointer Archie had started from Achnashellach. The alarm was raised when they failed to return that evening. The brothers were thought to be experienced walkers.
Torridon, Kintail, Dundonnell and RAF mountain rescue teams were assisted by search dogs and Inverness and Stornoway Coastguard helicopters. Mountain rescue teams searched on the ground while the two helicopters scanned a huge area.
It is understood that Alan Gibson had travelled from his County Durham home to join his brother on the trip.
Neil is the eldest of four brothers whose late father, Cameron, was a minister in Nairn.
He was a talented footballer, playing for Nairn County in the 1970s and later coaching its youth team for some years.
Club chairman Donald Matheson said: "Our thoughts are clearly with the men’s family. I was devastated to hear of Alan’s death.
"There’ll be a lot of our players who know Neil and trained with him, so there’ll be a lot of them thinking about him, too. We’re waiting with bated breath, hoping Neil is found safe and well."
Police have issued general advice to hillwalkers and others pursuing outdoor activities in the mountains after a week in which rescue teams have so far been called on 14 times.
Chief Inspector Neil Anderson said: "Unless you’re an experienced hillwalker or mountaineer I’d advise against venturing into the hills if there’s any likelihood of the conditions becoming adverse."
He also stressed the importance of having proper kit, map and compass, and keeping up to date with weather and avalanche forecasts.