Mountain Rescue Team says Ben Nevis walkers who were rescued should be 'cut some slack'
Rescuers have called for more information to be made available to tourists and the general public about the dangers of going into the Scottish mountains.
Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was responding to criticism of four foreign nationals who its members rescued from Ben Nevis earlier this week, calling for people to "cut them a little bit of slack".
Three of the walkers were found wearing trainers in a blizzard near the summit of the peak during Storm Ciara. The team said they were lucky to survive after the were helped down to the Halfway Lochan before being helicoptered to the Bedford Hospital in Fort William.
But on Wednesday the team urged the attacks on the walkers to stop, and suggesting positives could come from the experience if the authorities learn from it.
LMRT said in a Facebook post: "At present money from the Scottish Government is channelled, via sportscotland, quite rightly so, into the Scottish Avalanche Information Service and for training and education through centres like Glenmore Lodge and agencies such as Mountaineering Scotland.
"Most of this will be targeted at people who are either engaged in the sport or have an interest in taking it up.
"Perhaps more thought needs to be given to how to inform the general public or casual tourist about how dangerous our 'small' mountains are and how severe our weather can get, and how it will catch out the unwary and uninformed at any time of the year."
The team also responded to the calls from some quarters to charge insurance for those who venture into the mountains.
"For those who call for charging and insurance for mountaineers/hill walkers, be careful for what ask for, as where do you stop?" they asked. "Insurance for fishing, rugby, football – all of which have more incidents and injuries than mountaineering?
"Mountain rescuers are all mountaineers who volunteer their services at absolutely minimal cost to the public purse. Insurance would lead to a professional service, which, for this incident would have required about 30 full-time paid people on one single shift plus equipment etc to have been able carry out – and then you have the admin, health and safety, bean counter et al – all funded by tax payer.
"Leave as is, as we have a world-class voluntary mountain rescue service which delivers via public donations."
The casualties from the Ben Nevis rescue admitted to the team that they made a significant error of judgment, and gave them a donation as well as gifts to thank them for what they did.
To find out more about Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team or to make a donation, visit www.lochabermrt.co.uk