Hiker survives icy plunge after falling into Scottish gorge

hiker takes icy plunge: Loch Lomond
Scotland, including the Loch Lomond region, has been experiencing below average temperatures this December (Image credit: Getty)

A hiker has survived after falling into a ravine and plunging into freezing water. On December 14, 25-year-old Dan Crank was photographing the Devil's Pulpit, a well-known beauty spot in Scotland, when he slipped and fell down the steep sides of the gorge and into the icy water.

After hauling himself out of the river, he was able to alert mountain rescue, who came to his aid. His ordeal was so terrible that he texted final goodbyes to his loved ones, as he was convinced that he wasn't going to survive.

"It was absolute agony at first and then I started going numb,” he told the Daily Record. “The cold was unbearable, I could barely walk, I was bouncing around I was shivering that much. I couldn't even control my breathing, I was struggling to catch my breath." He was slipping in and out of consciousness before mountain rescue found him.

Hiker survives icy plunge: Devil's Pulpit

The Devil's Pulpit is a well-known but potentially dangerous beauty spot (Image credit: Getty)

After being found, he spent two hours in an ambulance while the paramedics did everything in their power to get his core temperature back up. Ice and snow meant that roads were closed, so taking him to hospital was not an option. Once he was stable he was taken to local bed and breakfast accommodation to recover.

An experienced hiker, Mr Crank said that he feels "incredibly lucky" to have survived. He reported that his winter skills, experience and the fact he was wearing appropriate winter clothing all made a difference to his prospects.

hiker survives icy plunge: Ben Lomond

The hiker had been walking the West Highland Way, just to the south of bonnie Loch Lomond (Image credit: Getty)

Mr Crank had been walking and camping on the West Highland Way, one of Britain's most popular long-distance thru hikes, when he made the detour to Finnich Glen, where the Devil's Pulpit is located. He is now of the opinion that the beauty spot should be out of bounds.

"Devil's Pulpit is a dangerous place and I understand local people's frustration," he said. "I think the place should be shut off, I wouldn't even feel comfortable going in summer."

The beauty spot will have been particularly treacherous in the icy conditions. Britain has been experiencing below average temperatures in December, with various weather warnings for snow and ice. However, temperatures have risen are a set to return to average levels in the lead up to Christmas Day.

Alex Foxfield

Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He's the former President of the London Mountaineering Club, is training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and is always keen to head to the 4,000-meter peaks of the Alps. www.alexfoxfield.com