Scottish avalanche victims were teachers

Three climbers killed when they were swept up in a series of avalanches in Scottish mountains were named today.

Teachers Nicholas Rosedale, 37, from Marlborough, Wiltshire, and William Wilkinson, 34, from Inverness, both died in an avalanche in the Coire na Ciste area of the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, yesterday.

Christopher Astill, 53, from Tideswell in Derbyshire, died following a separate avalanche at Liathach Ridge, Torridon, in Wester Ross.

He was found alive and conscious by rescuers but died later in hospital.

Two other climbers were rescued after a third avalanche on Beinn an Dothaidh near Bridge of Orchy in Argyll at around midday.

The avalanches all took place within a matter of hours and followed a warning from experts.

The alarm was raised on Ben Nevis yesterday morning when a member of the public reported seeing two people caught in a large avalanche.

Around 35 rescuers, including Lochaber mountain rescue team and six from RAF Leuchars, launched a search in the hope of finding the climbers alive.

But both bodies were discovered in an area known as No 3 Gulley on the north face of Ben Nevis.

A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

After another avalanche, a rescue was launched in Torridon when a climber called emergency services to report that the friend he was with had been swept away.

The alarm was raised in Torridon shortly before noon, just an hour after the avalanche on Ben Nevis.

Rescuers found the man conscious but cold with an injured arm and he was flown to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness by the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter.

The two climbers rescued from the Bridge of Orchy avalanche, which happened at around noon, were flown to Belmont Hospital in Fort William by an RAF helicopter.

Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service had been warning of dangers on the hills caused by the recent snow.

The calm but cold weather increases the likelihood of avalanches because of the build-up of surface frost.

Mr Wilkinson, a geography teacher at Culloden Academy in Inverness, was a popular member of staff with a promising future, headteacher Stephen Dowds said.

He started working at the 1,072-pupil school just a year ago, Mr Dowds said.

"He was very popular with both staff and pupils. He was very helpful and had a very promising career in front of him.

"In the short time he was at the school he made a significant impression."