A frozen walk along the beach – A Kintail Tragedy 30 years ago.

It was a lovely but bitter cold day and there was a heavy frost yesterday it was minus 6 recorded locally. The car was covered in ice and took time to scrape the windows for one of the first times this winter. I am working on a lecture to Tayside Mountain Rescue on Friday in Blairgowerie so it will be a busy week ahead. I hope to visit a few old friends on route. I needed a break late morning and I went for a wander along the beach at Rosielle and even the shoreline was icy!  It was a lovely walk but bitter cold with a bank of fog out at sea that stopped the flights from Inverness. My friend Natacha joined me she was a bit rough from the cold but enjoyed the walk and we ended up talking politics in these mad uncertain times. It was then to the Bothy for a warm up and some soup tea and cake!

The ice forming on the sea a cold but lovely day.

  1.  I was researching  for my chat in Blairgowerie I came across this sad tale of a tragedy at Kintail 30 years ago. I was in the RAF Mountain Rescue at this time and it was a sad day as it involved local people.

SMC Journal 1987 Scottish Mountain Accidents

1986 December 4 – 6 th – Exhaustion, hypothermia tragedy. Three young  people left Kintail Lodge Hotel in late afternoon to walk to Glenelg (Moyle) via path and Loch Coire nan Crogachan (1500 feet)


They went to high and were benighted. Male (20) ill – clad died at 2000 feet on the first night. Girl (18) also ill-clad collapsed next morning when descending with girl 20 slightly better dressed. 18-year-old died later.  20-year-old went down to raise alarm. Kintail, Glenelg, Skye, Kinloss, SARDA and RAF Sea King Helicopter.


The RAF Sea king helicopter.

A tragic day for the local area and a warning for those who venture onto the hills at this time of year when daylight is short and the proper clothing and navigational skills are needed.

From a good pal Don Shanks

“Reference the Kintail job  a sad outcome they had not meant to stray off the main path but accidentally took the spur path which took them off route and although we flew the survivor she didn’t. recognise the area from the air but the dog man pointed us to the summit to where we recovered the  lad.
Don ”

Sadly most years at this festive time people forget we are in mid winter and its easy to go wrong, simple paths even at low altitudes may be snow-covered and not easy to follow.

Take care and be careful.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A frozen walk along the beach – A Kintail Tragedy 30 years ago.

  1. Joe Quinn says:

    I was only just yesterday talking about this with an old MRT friend. We were both involved in the call out. It was a very sad occasion as one of the casualties was a family friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Callum Macinnes says:

    Was with the Skye team that day. Tragic beyond words. If my memory is correct we were moving up the hill in a line with the dog teams up ahead and it was them that found the bodies. Hard to believe that it was 30 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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