AN adventurous Tavistock couple has vowed to learn from their mistakes after narrowly avoiding death on mountain expedition during a storm.
Despite having nearly met their demise, the fearless duo has refused to be put off their love of mountaineering, despite being knocked off their feet by a almighty thunder clap on a Scottish peak last week.
The pair, who prefer to be anonymous after their scrape, have been advised by the Met Office and rescue experts on safer conduct on the mountains in Glencoe, Torridon and Culin ranges where they were enjoying a summer break climbing six of the the famed spectacular Munros (which exceed 3,000 feet or 900m) in 11 days.
The couple knew rain was forecast, but not thunder and lightning and were caught high up on the peaks in a violent storm and knocked down by what felt like ‘being hit on the head with a baseball bat’.
Despite being ‘frozen with fear’ they were forced to flee for their lives to safety.
The drama began on one of the remotest Munros in Scotland Sgùrr Mòrr.
The 42-year-old mother of three said: “From the top of the second horn, I looked behind me to my left and saw the sky had significantly changed colour. The clouds were black, and I could see it was raining heavily across the mountain and loch behind us.
“It was 3pm and my boyfriend was keen to get going as he knew at this point the forecast was correct and we were likely to get very wet soon.
“At 3.20pm, we decided not to go over but bypass the third horn and were descending the mountain when we both heard thunder.
“We knew we were in the wrong place and too high up. My boyfriend told me we had to get moving off the mountain, fast — and I know now that I didn’t take the situation seriously enough.
“The thunder looked to be beyond Liathach, and I didn’t understand the danger we were in. The air pressure changed, and my boyfriend said it felt a lot cooler. All around us it was raining but we were in a crisp, dry atmosphere.
“The air was electric, and I could feel the hairs on my arms standing on end. Walking steadily down off the mountain, we both experienced a very strange shock that felt like static in our hair and across our shoulders.
“The thunder came a few seconds after, and it was then we knew we were in danger of being fully struck by lightning. I remember feeling very frightened, and knowing we were too high up — roughly 815 meters at this point.
“My boyfriend took my hand and we hurried to get off the mountain quickly, but within the next five minutes, there was a huge crack of thunder, and we were knocked off our feet.
“It felt like being whacked across the head by a baseball bat. Before I knew it, my boyfriend was knocked to the floor in front of me and I threw myself down and we saw a a white flash of light around his head.
“A few seconds must have passed, and I called out to my boyfriend to ask if he was okay. I had fallen onto him and was then scrambling about on the ground trying to wedge myself under a nearby boulder. But my boyfriend was shouting to get up and get off the mountain. I was frozen in fear. My every instinct telling me to shelter under the boulder for safety until the storm had passed.
“What I didn’t know was, he saw another flash of lightning over Liathach and was terrified and just kept shouting to get off the mountain as fast as we could.”
The pair rushed down to safety in torrential rain. She added: “I know now, after doing some research, that everything we did when we were faced with the danger of being struck by lightning was wrong. We should have spread out, we should not have stopped to take any photos, we shouldn’t have tried to shelter under any rocks or trees, and we should have made our decent a lot faster that we did. Overall, we consider ourselves to be very lucky. On that day, Mother Nature was kind to us and we survived. Not many people can say they have experienced the full wrath of what I believe to have been lightning ground to air current.’’
The adventurer said: “It was an amazing but totally petrifying experience. But it’s normal for me, living life on the edge. It’s been like my life recently, a really emotional journey, through raising a family on my own, leaving an abusive marriage and getting sober and fit through Meadowlands gym. Climbing mountains is similar; an intense experience. You thinik you can’t do it, then you do — with a rush of happiness. We will be back.”