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A team of ‘hero’ volunteers braved snow and freezing fog on an Argyll Munro searching for a missing dog all this week, until her body was found on Friday.
Meg, a 12-year-old female Border collie, was with her owner on Beinn Sgulaird between Glen Creran and Glen Etive on Sunday January 14 when she lost the use of her back legs and he was forced to leave her on the hill.
A relative of the owner explained on Lost Dogs Glasgow on Monday: ‘My family member was up Beinn Sgulaird mountain yesterday with his dog. His dog’s back legs gave way and he tried everything to get her off safe but it was too dangerous with the weather and it was getting dark, so he had no other option but to leave her.
‘He came off the mountain and slept in his car till first light and tried to go up and find her, but can’t find her, as it was too dark last night they can’t remember where she is.’
Another relative said their navigation systems ‘froze’ at the top of the hill, before he and a friend eventually found a road: ‘It was pitch black when they left her and was becoming a life/death situation. They were completely soaked wet through. Conditions were treacherous.’
Hiker and dog-lover Scott Finnie abandoned a wild camping holiday on Arran to scour the farmhouses, woods, streams and ditches with the aid of a drone.
‘This dog is hurt, lost and needs help,’ he updated on the Lost Dogs Glasgow page, where the search was co-ordinated. ‘I can only hope Meg made it to shelter otherwise, with plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall, I fear the worst, but trying to stay positive. If needed, Meg will be carried off the hill or to the tent. If Meg’s still around, I’ll find her.’
Scott camped overnight in the snow, hoping the orange lights, bonfire and smell of doggy treats and sizzling duck would attract Meg to join him – all to no avail, and he had to leave the next day due to an infected foot.
New-to-the-area drone pilot Mikey Doc McManus also took to the mountainside and Facebook to join the search, saying: ‘The weather at 400m is outrageous and just far too dangerous in zero visibility. The wind is chronic and the snow is driving. It’s all very emotional and physically tiring.’
Another searcher, local mum Beth Davies, spent two days with her baby driving and tracking melting paw prints in the ice and sleet. Two couples also searched with their dogs, alongside another lady who had to be guided off the mountain after getting lost.
However, frustration grew when it emerged the first map of Meg’s location was incorrect, meaning people had been ‘risking their lives on the wrong part of the mountain’.
Meg’s owner joined the search with two others on Friday. A relative wrote: ‘We are so grateful for all the help and support we are receiving.’
Maggie Barclay set up a Just Giving page to fundraise £500 for fuel, food and hot drinks for the volunteers, raising £740 by Thursday. Mikey had wished ‘to hit it hard one last time’ with a ground search on Saturday, but the news they feared came on Friday.
Mikey posted: ‘The owner and his friend appeared on the hill at 2pm and set out on foot to their last know location from that fateful night and I received a simple message from them stating they had found Meg and it wasn’t good news. There has been a huge donation of funds that we will have to put to good use. Thanks on behalf of the awesome people who teamed to look for Meg.’
Ashley Doherty of Lost Dogs Glasgow added: ‘Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you. Those who shared, donated and especially those who spent days up that mountain. You are all heroes.’