Hill walker thanks good Samaritans after he breaks his ankle on Pentlands Hill outing
Andrew Bates, 57, was coming back down from walking in whiteout conditions across the peaks on Tuesday when disaster struck.
The experienced outdoorsman, who has several mountaineering qualifications, approached the high car park at Bonaly towards the end of his journey.
He spotted a group of walkers coming up the hill, and following guidance on social distancing, he tried to step off the path to allow them to pass.
His leg immediately slipped and he heard a snap - knowing he had broken something.
Thankfully two cyclists were able to assist the NHS mental health worker to untangle himself from his equipment and assist him to a nearby seat.
Andrew said: “I would like to thank the two cyclists who stopped to provide assistance and helped me to a seat and offered to get an ambulance. Thank you so much for your kindness and assistance, it was much appreciated.
“I stupidly thought all was OK after being helped up by the cyclists, and continued walking down hill for about a quarter of a mile. But after a while I knew that I would need an ambulance, and for the first time in my 57 years, I dialled 999.
“Whilst doing so I was again offered help from a passing dog walker - who I now know was named Ben. He kept me from slipping into shock and helped to support me in reaching the ambulance rendezvous point on the bridge over the A720.
"I cannot thank him enough as the conditions had worsened, and although I had an emergency shelter and provisions in a bag, it could have become testy. I told him several times that he could leave but he continued to stay and keep my mind occupied and distracted from the pain.
“I would also like to thank the driver who passed and offered to share warm clothing, although I did not need it, it was a very kind thing to do. I wish I had all of their full names but it is one thing you forget to acquire in a state of shock.”
Andrew also thanked the ambulance service who kept his spirits high and shared how they were amazed at his core temperature being close to normal when they ran tests on him - something he attributes to being adequately prepared for mountaineering.
Now recovering, Andrew’s ankle will take four to six weeks to heal with the fracture taking as long as four months.
He had been planning to complete the coast to coast walk after lockdown had eased but is now reassessing his plans to complete a trail this year.
Andrew added: “I would say be careful when the snow melts, it turns into ice, and then another snow dump on top and you will not be able to see the ice. I think that is what happened to me, I did not notice the ice underneath the fresh layer of snow.
"For anyone walking in the Pentlands, make sure you are adequately equipped and use a walking pole where possible.”