When Edwyn Newman set off for his daily hike up Arthur’s Seat, he didn’t expect it to end by being at the centre of a full-scale rescue operation.
But after taking a spur-of- the-moment decision to vary his regular route, that was exactly what happened to the 65-year-old. The retired chartered electronics engineer found himself trapped on a rocky ledge with no phone and dressed for a stroll rather than mountain climbing.
The drama unfolded at 8am yesterday when his cries for help were heard by a group of students.
Police and fire service rescue teams raced to the scene and launched a line rescue, hammering metal stakes into the rock and lowering a rescuer down to Mr Newman on a 100-metre rope.
The crews then put Mr Newman into a harness and helped him down to where his wife, Joyce, 65, was waiting to greet him, after being called by police.
A relieved Mr Newman, from Trinity, told the Evening News afterwards that the drama had not put him off plans to take on Snowdon on a charity walk for Prostate Cancer Research Centre next month.
Mr Newman said: “I’ve been going up Arthur’s Seat every morning for the past month to get climbing practice, and today I decided that I was bored with the normal route and I went up this crazy route.
“The more I climbed, the steeper it got and I just got to the point where I couldn’t go up, or go left or right, because it was just too steep.
“When I looked at the only way down I thought, ‘I’m just going to break a leg or my neck’.”
He called for help from Gordon Cooney, 20, one of a group of students who were also completing a daily walk up Arthur’s Seat, to raise money for a trip to Malawi.
Mr Cooney said: “I heard what I thought was a strange bird, but it was a man. I thought, ‘Do I need to be calling an ambulance, or mountain rescue?’, but he wasn’t injured. I called 999 and they sent the police.”
The students remained on the scene until the rescuers arrived.
Luckily, the fire service rescue teams had been due to begin a training exercise on Salisbury Crags half an hour later and were able to divert to the scene.
Undaunted, Mr Newman plans to take part in the fundraising Snowdon walk, having raised £5000 in just four weeks since setting up his Just Giving page.
He said: “Last autumn, I discovered I had prostate cancer and I’ve had treatment for that. An old friend of mine called and said, ‘Do you fancy going up Snowdon for the Prostate Cancer Research Centre at University College London?’
“A friend who does a lot of proper walking said, ‘There’s no point going round the Botanic Gardens, you need climbing practice’, so I’ve been going up most mornings for the last month.”
His wife is insisting on one extra preparation for the Snowdon challenge, however – the purchase of some walking boots.
She said: “It’s a little more explosive than I’d like to start my day, but I’m just jolly glad there were all these people there to help, and they’re all so thoughtful and good at what they do.”
To sponsor Mr Newman visit www.justgiving.com/kingmckong.
Following Mr Newman’s rescue, Historic Scotland’s Ranger Service, which oversees Holyrood Park, issued a reminder to park users to think about their safety.
Ranger Matt McCabe said: “It’s important that people dress appropriately for the weather and their activity, and follow the allocated paths and walkways around the area. Our priority is health, safety and wellbeing, and we want everyone who visits the park to enjoy themselves in safe conditions.”