21/02/2016 15:32 GMT | Updated 21/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Hillwalkers Found 'Cold And Desolate' On Ben Nevis As Couple Remain Missing

Two hillwalkers have been found "cold and desolate" on the same peak where another two climbers have been missing for a week.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (LMRT) sent a small team to look for the hillwalkers, who reported that they were lost on Ben Nevis on Saturday night and then made no further contact.

Rescue teams had suspended the week-long search for missing Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, due to "increasingly hazardous weather" and the risk of avalanches.

However, they had to return to the mountain following the plea for help from the two male hillwalkers.

LMRT said: "Team out again tonight. 16 team members assisted by 11 members of RAF mountain rescue plus R951 (rescue helicopter) involved.

"Two hill walkers reporting that they are lost near summit of Ben Nevis. Contact lost with casualties."

It added: "Lochaber night shift have had good result searching for the two hillwalkers who were lost on the summit of Ben (Nevis).

"Due to conditions it was decided not to send a large team out, but to restrict to a small group of four who followed the path to the summit shelter.

"The men were found in the summit shelter cold and a wee bit desolate, but lucky guys.

"They have been walked down to Halfway Lochan.

"R951 (rescue helicopter) had to return to base with technical problem and has been replaced by R999 from Prestwick. All now back on ground safe and well.

"RAF Kinloss mountain rescue came down to assist tonight and although not required it was good to know we had back up if required."

Conditions were described as "very wild with high winds and snow" which was expected to hamper efforts to search for Ms Slater and Mr Newton today.

A 26-strong search team braved severe sub-zero temperatures, high winds, falling snow and limited visibility on Saturday in a bid to find the couple, who are from Bradford, West Yorkshire.

They failed to return from an outing on Ben Nevis last weekend and treacherous conditions have hindered air and ground searches on Britain's highest peak in recent days.