A BODY found at a “notorious accident blackspot” near Fort William is feared to be that of a missing Edinburgh hillwalker.
More than 70 rescuers took part in the hunt for Alistair Porteous, 56, who was last seen leaving his home in The Steils, Greenbank, at about 2pm last Wednesday.
A large-scale operation saw the Glen Nevis area scoured before police revealed a body had been discovered in the Steall Falls area. Officers said the family of Mr Porteous had been made aware, with a formal identification still to take place.
John Grieve, the leader of Glencoe Mountain Rescue who was involved in the efforts over the weekend, said below-freezing overnight temperatures would have made it “near impossible” to survive.
He said: “At this time of year and after that amount of time, there’s only likely to be one outcome unfortunately.
“We had one rescue in summer that went on for five days, but in summer you expect there to be some possibility they are still alive, but it’s a bit much to expect in winter, especially if they have fallen in some way.
“We get a lot of people out at this time of year, it’s probably the main attraction, winter climbing and walking, but obviously the conditions put the risk up a notch. Where he was found is below the snow line but there have been a lot of accidents there. You can come down into a quarry and it ends with this big waterfall that goes into Glen Nevis.
“The way down, if you don’t find it in the exact place, is quite difficult and over the years there have been lots and lots of accidents there.
“Unfortunately these long searches nearly always end up the same result, if someone’s alive you usually find them reasonably quickly.”
Mountain rescue teams including Lochaber, RAF and Penrith, SARDA Dogs and a Royal Navy rescue helicopter carried out three days of extensive searches for the sales manager.
Friends and relatives took to social media, spreading the word about Mr Porteous’s disappearance and appealing for help in finding him.
On Saturday, police found his Saab car parked near to the popular beauty spot.
Officers believe Mr Porteous – described as an avid and competent hillwalker – may have taken an unscheduled trip to the Highlands to walk the mountain trail at Glen Nevis.
It is the second major search for a hillwalker this year. Michael O’Grady, 64, from Northern Ireland, went missing from the Ben Alder and Loch Ossian area shortly before Christmas.
His body was found last month near Ben Alder.