A walker has today told how he thought he was going to die as he fell 500ft down a mountain - but miraculously he was just left with bruises.
Ben Taylor was walking at Stob Coire in Glencoe, Scotland, with two friends when the drama unfolded.
After reaching the summit and taking photos the friends began the descent, but disaster struck
Ben, 26, an engineer at BAE Systems, said: “Roughy 100m down from the summit I was traversing across to a more suitable section when I lost my footing and slipped, sliding at first frantically trying to gain purchase I eventually went over the edge and according to the climbers who witnessed it fell, bouncing off rocks, around 500ft in total down into a gully, past where they were climbing.
“At first I just felt sheer panic.
“Then when I started bouncing off rocks it was almost calm. I thought that’s it. It’s over.
“It was pretty surreal. I just knew I would be dead. There was no way I thought I was going to live.
“I think I had come to terms with it. I thought it was over.”
He added: “I can honestly say you don’t ever think it is going to happen to you. It never even crossed my mind.”
Ben, who was walking with colleague Ben Wright, 26, and friend Liam Hughes also 26, goes walking regularly, usually in the Lake District.
But it is the first time he has ever gone out with the pair.
With his friends still up the mountainside and being able to see Ben’s ice axe sticking out, they too had feared the worst.
Lucky for Ben a climber whom he passed on the way down came to his aid to the gully where he had landed.
He said: “Selflessly one of the climbers immediately abseiled down to me. I was lowered down the gully where I was picked up by the rescue helicopter and taken to hospital. I thought I had broken my back, I thought I had broken my pelvis. The pain was so intense.
“I could move though, so I knew I wasn’t paralysed.”
Ben was taken to hospital in Fort William and once they had established he didn’t have any broken bone he was discharged.
Ben, from Kirkham, said: “I have got severe bruising to the coccyx and to my arms and legs. “Sitting down is painful.
“Everyone I have spoken to can’t believe it. I am lucky to be alive.”
Ben said: “I have never climbed that high before and the snow was two or three foot deep in parts. I think what I would say [to other walkers] if you’re going to be walking in treacherous conditions I would recommend a course beforehand].
“It would teach them not to make the mistake I did. Climbing up I felt in total control but coming back down is totally different.”
Ben had a rope in his bag and said in hindsight he should have used
He added: “It hasn’t put me off, I am going to continue to walk this year. But I won’t be doing any more walking in those conditions until I have done this course.”
RAF rescue confirmed they sent a helicopter to Ben’s aid and took him to Belford Hospital, Fort William, to be treated.