Missing dog rescued from 200-foot mountain ledge during helicopter training exercise

Whilst out on essential training, the Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew were presented with an ideal opportunity to test their winter flying skills.

Winchmen Kate Willoughby and Mark Stevens out on training
just before the dog was found. HM Coastguard Photo
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A little dog, who had been missing for 48 hours in the terrible weather conditions of Storm Gareth, was spotted on a narrow ledge with a 200-foot vertical drop below by the Coastguard helicopter crew.

The Inverness helicopter crew — Capt Simon Hammock, co-pilot Roger Sherriff, winch operator Rob Glendinning and winchman Mark Stevens — were undertaking some essential winter training with winchman Kate Willoughby visiting from Humberside Coastguard helicopter base at Stag Rocks in the Cairngorms.

To put their winter skills to the test, the two winchmen were dropped off at a nearby bothy to undertake essential medical training in the snow.

Winchman Kate Willoughby cuddles up to Ben
inside the Coastguard helicopter. HM Coastguard Photo
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The remaining helicopter crew flew off to simulate a refuel and as they circled 1000 feet up Loch Avon in the Cairngorms, a nearby section of cloud cleared and they happened to spot the dog perched precariously on the ledge.

The helicopter crew noted the position, went back to collect the two training winchmen and returned to the stranded dog. The weather had luckily presented them an ideal window of opportunity to use the rest of their training time to rescue the dog!

Little ‘Ben’ — who is a Cavachon — was terrified and cold, so he was flown to the nearby Glenmore Lodge who then rushed the dog to the Strathspey Vets. The HM Coastguard has since heard that the dog is doing well and has been happily reunited with its owner.

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