A hillwalking father and son have praised rescuers who plucked them to safety after they came a cropper in freezing temperatures in the Angus Glens.
Cameron Currie fell and injured a knee after taking on the Kilbo Pass with his dad Stuart and their dog Oakley.
The pair called on Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), which carried the 23-year old and his father off the frozen hillside when the festive hike took a bad turn.
Cameron, a student PE teacher and ski instructor, and Stuart had been looking for potential ski touring options for the coming season when disaster struck on December 27.
They were near the top of the pass when Cameron slipped and tore his knee to the bone on jagged rocks.
Both are experienced climbers but realised they would not be able to get off the hill unaided.
Cameron, from Arbroath, said: “I felt a jolt of pain but didn’t realise how bad it was until I saw all the blood on the snow and the deep wound across my knee.
“I flexed my leg and knew nothing was broken, but every move made the wound bleed more.”
Being experienced outdoorsmen, they had packed extra thermal layers and survival bags.
They were lucky to be abe to get a mobile phone reception and called for help.
Cameron said: “We called the emergency services, gave them our co-ordinates, layered on more clothing, staunched the bleeding with an extra fleece and hunkered down in our survival bags awaiting help.
“My dog Oakley has been walking on the hills with me for years so he snuggled in beside us and I protected him from the wind with our rucksacks.”
With temperatures plummeting to -10C, the open hillside was still a brutal environment for the trio and it became a race against time to get them to safety.
A helicopter based in Perth scrambled to respond to the emergency.
Cameron said there were no words to describe the relief they felt when they saw the SCAA aircraft coming over the ridge towards them.
“They spotted our bright orange survival bags and landed just above us,” he said.
“We got a bit emotional. Just relief at knowing we would be rescued and alright.”
Despite being well prepared, Cameron and Stuart were suffering from hypothermia after exposure on the freezing hill.
SCAA lead paramedic John Pritchard said: “Once safely out of the cold and the injury assessed, we got everyone into the aircraft and 12 minutes later they were at Ninewells Hospital.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a dog on board but he was a model passenger.
“He just offered a paw when the rotors started and Cameron held on to it as we took off to reassure him. He then sat throughout the flight as good as gold.”
Cameron’s leg wound was treated and stitched and he was released from hospital later that evening. Stuart was allowed home after showing no lasting effects of hypothermia.
Cameron said they would always be grateful to the crew for coming to their rescue.
“It’s hard to imagine that what should have been a relatively simple hike for experienced walkers could turn so concerning so quickly,” he said.
“We can’t praise SCAA enough or thank them enough for what they did to rescue us.
“I was overwhelmed by their caring expertise and professionalism and the quality of service they gave to dad and I. Things could have ended very differently without them out on the hill.”