Belfast Telegraph

Fears for Northern Ireland rambler missing in the Scottish Highlands

BY JACK BRENNAN

Concerns are growing for the welfare of a pensioner from Northern Ireland who has been missing in the Scottish Highlands for almost three weeks.

Michael O'Grady from Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh is a keen hillwalker and was visiting the Ben Alder and Loch Ossian areas of Scotland on Sunday, December 22 when he went missing.

Although an experienced hillwalker and keen rambler, Scottish police are eager to speak to anyone who may have seen Mr O'Grady as they are concerned for his safety.

Yesterday police released the first picture of Mr O'Grady who they described as being 5ft 6in, of slim build and with grey hair.

They have released the photograph in the hope that someone might recognise him and can help them to pinpoint his movements.

He was last seen leaving the Loch Ossian youth hostel intending to walk to Culra Bothy.

The Ben Alder area is one of the most desolate spots in Scotland.

It's also the east-west transition where the peaks of the west steadily transform to the big rounded hills of the east.

Because of the size of the hills and the "halfway house" situation, the area often receives a lot of snow and ice during the winter.

While the weather over Christmas was reasonably mild, since then there have been storms, heavy rain and occasional snow.

It is thought that the missing man may have been last spotted by a group of five other hillwalkers on the day he disappeared near Ben Alder.

Police were informed of Mr O'Grady's disappearance after he failed to return to his car, which had been parked in the area since before Christmas.

Scottish Police are eager to speak with anyone who may have seen or spoken to him that day and asked anyone with information to contact them as soon as possible.

A police spokesman said: "Although an experienced hillwalker, there has been no contact made with him for several days and we are keen to speak with any persons who may have been in the area, particularly the area around Ben Alder, who may have seen or spoken to the male."

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