Posted by Admin - Fri 2nd March 2018 7.54AM
A mountaineer from Horwich risked his life to save two dogs who were lost in sub-zero temperatures on England’s third highest peak for two days.
Scott Pilling, 37, leapt into action when he spotted a Facebook post about missing German shepherd Lilah and mongrel Cash.
He carried out his rescue mission even though he didn’t know their owner – and had to drive 94 miles from his home to Helvellyn in the Lake District.
Mr Pilling feared the worst as he began to scale the mountain because the dogs had been alone in freezing weather for 48 hours.
But after rallying fellow hikers to help he rescued them from under a precarious overhanging edge of snow known as a cornice, where they had been sheltering.
He said the dogs would have died if they had spent much longer on the mountain, which is more than 3,000ft above sea level.
The dogs’ owner Colette Kilroy, 27, who had also been out searching, said she was overwhelmed by Mr Pilling’s brave efforts.
Thanking him, she said: “I cannot put into words how thankful and appreciative I am. You are a hero in my eyes and I feel so blessed and thankful that you were there. Thank for risking your life for my dogs and persisting to rescue them both.”
Mr Pilling learned the dogs were missing from a Facebook page called Dog Lost, which helps reunite dogs with their owners.
He drove to Ullswater and set off on the 90-minute trek up the side of the mountain. The dogs had been missing since Sunday after becoming separated from their owner while walking.
As he got higher and fog lifted he spotted two black dots around 600ft from a ridge called Swirral Edge. A walker lent him his binoculars and he was able to see they were animals and were responding to his whistles.
Mr Pilling, a coach builder from Bank Meadow, said: “They were clearly alive and alert. I was amazed. I managed to get the help of some other walkers, but we were worried that the cornice might collapse, killing the dogs.
“We dug a slope next to the cornice and took turns lowering ourselves down with ropes. We eventually reached the animals and with great effort were able to get them back on to the mountain.
Mr Pilling, who initially could not contact mountain rescue because of poor signal, posted a picture on Facebook alerting Miss Kilroy that her dogs had been found.
He said: “I was talking to her on the phone during the rescue. I wasn’t there when the dogs were delivered to her but I know she was over the moon. I am just so glad it ended the way it did.”