Highlands & Islands

Stranded wind farm workers airlifted to safety

Compound at Glen Doe Image copyright SSE
Image caption The three workers were trying to reach a large accommodation compound in Glen Doe

Three workmen have been airlifted to safety after their vehicle became stuck in deep snow near a wind farm site in the Highlands.

The contractors were involved in work in Glen Doe to connect the site of the 66-turbine Stronelairg Wind Farm project to the electricity network.

The men got stuck while travelling between a satellite building and the project's main accommodation area.

A helicopter reached them at 17:30 and they were found safe and well.

Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Team had earlier been dispatched to help.

The incident came during a period of challenging winter conditions in the Highlands.

High winds and snow had earlier prevented the coastguard helicopter from assisting Cairngorm MRT.

Glen Doe, above Fort Augustus at Loch Ness, is the location of a hydro-electric scheme and the site of wind farm project.

Over the past 24 hours, winds have gusted to more than 100mph in the Cairngorms.

There have also been lightning strikes on Scotland's west coast.

Earlier, police warned of hazardous driving conditions caused by snow, ice and gusting wind on stretches of the A82 and A9 in the Highlands.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption A car landed on its roof on A82 during a challenging period of winter weather in the Highlands

A Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice is in place across much of the Highlands until 10:00 on Friday.

The difficult driving conditions saw a car end up on its roof on the A82.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption A cutter snow blower on the A93

Snow gates on several high level routes were closed for a time, including Banchory to Fettercairn and on the A93 at Spittal of Glenshee.

Specialist machinery was brought in to reopen the A93, including a cutter snow blower to deal with deep drifts of snow.

High winds have also been affecting the Kessock Bridge at Inverness and the Skye Bridge, while Police Scotland warned of "pockets of bad weather" were affecting travel on roads in Dumfries and Galloway.

Image copyright @polscotrpu
Image caption Police warned of challenging driving conditions in Dumfries and Galloway

The weather was also affecting traffic on the A82 in Glen Coe and on stretches of the A9 in the Highlands and Perthshire.

The storm force winds were detected on Wednesday by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) in the range's northern mountains.

The lightning strikes, accompanied by snow and heavy rain, were widespread on the west Highland coast.

Image copyright www.Bespokehotels.com/kingsarms
Image caption Lightning in an image captured from the Kings Arms Hotel in Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye
Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption SAIS team member digging an avalanche test pit in whiteout conditions in Southern Cairngorms on Wednesday

CairnGorm Mountain ski centre said the stormy weather was affecting its phone lines.

Staff said gusts of up to 70mph had been recorded at the centre's top station, along with a temperature of -7C.

There have also been heavy snowfalls, with the high winds causing snow to build up in some places.

CairnGorm Mountain said there were drifts "as big as cliffs" in some areas.

Wednesday night's lightning could be seen from Kyleakin on Skye, Kyle of Lochalsh and also in West Ross, including Ullapool.

There were further periods of lightning reported in Torridon on Thursday.

Image caption A BBC Scotland Weather image of Wednesday's lightning strikes

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