A hillwalker was rescued after spending more than 24 hours trapped on a cliff ledge in one of the most inaccessible wildernesses in the UK.

A multi-agency rescue operation was launched on Monday after the UK Coastguard received a call from the hillwalker to say he had become trapped in the Kinloch Hourn area when walking around lunchtime on Sunday.

Kinloch Hourn lies at the end of Loch Hourn, one of the largest sea lochs on the mainland west coast. Located in one of Scotland’s most important wild landscape areas between the peninsulas of Glenelg and Knoydart, it is reachable by a 22-mile long single-track road. 

Lifeboat crews from Kyle of Lochalsh Lifeboat Station and mountain rescuers from Glenelg Mountain Rescue team joined in the rescue operation alongside the UK Coastguard.

After launching at 1.20pm on Monday, Kyle lifeboat Spirit of Fred.Olsen sped towards the scene, before transporting members of the Mountain Rescue team into the area to allow them to begin a search at the last known location of the hillwalker at the head of Loch Hourn.

READ MORE: Multi-agency rescue mission after walker falls into bay

Due to the remoteness of the location, there is no electronic communication signal of any form, meaning Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI had to head back out of the loch to establish communications with the Coastguard. 

After the Coastguard received new information regarding the casualty’s position, the Kyle RNLI lifeboat then returned up the loch to extricate the mountain rescue volunteers. 

The Kyle RNLI lifeboat received a further update from the UK Coastguard to say the casualty could see the lifeboat but it was too far away to signal, prompting the lifeboat crew to begin a systematic search of the area. 

Then, at 7:00pm the Kyle RNLI lifeboat located the casualty, who was trapped on a small ledge just above the waterline, where he had been stuck for more than 24 hours. 

The Kyle RNLI lifeboat crew managed to reach the casualty and get him onboard, before then making their way back to Kyle, where he was reunited with his very relieved family at 7:30pm.

The Herald: Kyle RNLI locate casualty on cliffKyle RNLI locate casualty on cliff (Image: Kyle RNLI)

Due to the location and nature of the rescue, the crew onboard the Kyle RNLI lifeboat were at sea for more than six hours, which is unusual given that inshore crews normally spent three to three-and-a-half hours at sea at any one time before rotating crew. 

A spokesperson for Kyle RNLI said: ‘This gentleman is an experienced walker who had unfortunately become trapped in an impossible situation, unable to go forward or back. 

“Due to the location, he had no mobile signal from the time he had become trapped until Monday lunchtime, when he noticed he had a very weak one.  He was then able to get in touch with the emergency services who launch a search and rescue operation. 

“We regularly train with other rescue agencies and by working well with everyone involved, we were able to return him back to his family safely.”

Glenelg Mountain Rescue Team, whose area covers Glenelg, Arnisdale, parts of Loch Duich and takes in Kinlochourn, Barrisdale and Knoydart, took to Facebook to thank Kyle RNLI for their assistance.

They wrote: The Glenelg MRT were called out to assist a 'crag fast' 72-year-old gentleman from a remote location on the hills behind Kinloch Hourn. 

“Thanks go to the Arnisdale Estate for the offer of assistance and use of a boat to take the MRT from Arnisdale to the head of Loch Hourn. 

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“While the team was mustering at the fire station, here in Glenelg, new information was received which put the gentleman at a location now on the southside of Loch Hourn.  

“With the assistance of the Kyle Lifeboat and crew, after four hours of searching the gentleman was located, uninjured, and brought onto the Lifeboat and back to safety. The Glenelg MRT thank the RNLI for their assistance. 

“It was good to see joint emergency agencies working together.”

The rescue came just weeks after Kyle RNLI rescued a petrified dog that had became stranded on a rock approximately 100 metres from the shore as the tide rose around it.

Kyle lifeboat was called to assist the stricken pooch after it got stranded on a rock in Erbusaig bay as the tide came in and threatened to submerge the rock. 

A spokesperson for Kyle RNLI said: ‘We’re glad Skye was unharmed from her ordeal, and we are only too happy to help. Having a dog myself, I know exactly how people feel about their pets, and the last thing we want is for someone to enter the water to try and assist their pet, only to get into difficulty and end up as a casualty themselves.’