A WOMAN, two ponies and a dog had to be rescued from near the summit of a 3,000ft Scottish mountain.
Leanne McDonald, from Buckie, Moray, and her four-legged friends got into trouble after she got lost and climbed the mountain to get a phone signal.
The 46-year old and her pets were nine days into a 210-mile charity trek when she became disorientated near to Blair Atholl, Perthshire, on Sunday.
Trying to find a phone signal so she could call for help, Mrs Mcdonald ended up climbing Beinn a’Ghlo in Glen Tilt.
She and her montaineering menagerie got to 770 metres (2,500ft) – and amid snow – by the time she got a signal.
But by that time it was midnight and police responded by scrambling mountain rescue teams from Braemar and Tayside. Rescuers led the team to safety, and tied up the ponies.
Mrs Mcdonald was given a shower, a change of clothes and a night’s sleep, She returned to get her pets the next day.
A spokesman for Braemar Mountain Rescue said: “It’s a unique situation to get to the top of a 770-metre hill and find a walker, two ponies and a large dog up there all needing recovered off the hill.
“The went up a hill to get phone reception as she was lost in Glen Tilt. A cold night with snow on the tops down to 500 metres.”
Mrs McDonald first set off from Spey Bay in Moray on May 23rd.
Along with her dog Foxy and ponies Candyfloss and Tinkerbell, she is walking to the Dick Vet School in Edinburgh to raise cash for the Equine Grass Sickness charity fund.
A post on her Facebook page, called Candyfloss Experience, said: “Day 10 update.
“Team Candyfoxybelle set off yesterday but became disoriented and lost.
“Leanne headed to higher ground to alert the Mountain Rescue team and the Team were found safe during the night.
“Mountain Rescue took Leanne off the mountain and she was checked over and she slept.
“The ponies are safe and Leanne is walking back to get them and all their equipment and then continuing down to Glen Tilt.”
Leanne is understood to be fit and well after her ordeal.
Her husband, Alan, said last night: “She got on a path and it was getting narrower and narrower. She thought, ‘Crikey, it isn’t good for a pony to walk on’.
“She just thought she had better get sorted out. She did all the right things at the right point in time.
“She had to keep climbing higher and higher to get a signal. It was a wee bit off where she should have been but it was the only way she could take the ponies with her.”
Mr McDonald, who is an engineer, added: “It just so happened the weather was against her. She has been camping every night with the animals.
“I was very concerned because you don’t expect to get that kind of call at that kind of night.
“I’m relieved. I’ve had enough now. It’s been a long couple of days. I’m just glad Leanne’s safe and back on track.
“She’s a tough nut. She’s a very determined lady. She wouldn’t stay in a hotel, she stays with her animals.”
Her Facebook page said: “It’s about a 289 mile journey, and we’re looking at it taking us about a month to walk.
“We will be using the old drover roads, and old military roads as much as possible.
“We’re just going to potter through Scotland.”
Pictures of the rescue were uploaded on social media and prompted a string of jokes.
Laird McTavish wrote: “Why the long faces.”
Ian Burch joked: “Neigh bother to you guys.”
Neil Morrison added: “You whinny want many more like that.”
Tony Bhoy said: “Hope you hoofed it right out of there.”