Leading article: Miracle in the glen

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The Independent Online

Adam Potter is one fortunate climber – or rather faller. Or perhaps it was just his lucky day. Missing his footing at the summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor near Ben Nevis, he dropped 1,000ft down an almost vertical slope, landing right-side up and almost unscathed. He was found by rescuers standing on his own two feet, reading his map.

But it was not only his mis-step that could have turned out so much worse. When they first saw him beneath three high craggy outcrops, the helicopter crew sent to rescue him assumed it must be the wrong man, and flew back to the summit. Had they not been able to track his descent by the bits of his kit left clinging to the rock face, they might not have stayed to pick him up.

Even so, they found it hard to believe that the fallen climber and the upright map- reader could be one and the same man. Then again, there was the smile of fate that left him his map, whatever else might have become detached during his fall. So even if the helicopter had flown off, he was already plotting his way out. To liken his experience to flying, as one rescuer did, might have been overly romantic.

But this is that rare combination – a trauma with a happy end; it deserves to be celebrated with a wee dram, or two, all round.