THE search is on for a munro bagging dog that fell into a gorge and was swept away by rapids near Ben Nevis.
Kai the collie has scaled 120 Scottish mountains and is described as an “experienced” climber – but fell through heather at the side of the of Glen Nevis footpath.
The popular route, at the side of the highest mountain in Britain just outside Fort William, has a 40 foot drop into the river below.
Local police and the Lochaber Mountain Rescue team were called to the scene on Thursday and spent hours looking for the dog to no avail.
It is believed the four-legged hill walker may have scrambled out of the water and is lost somewhere nearby.
His heartbroken owners are calling on climbers and locals to look out for the eight-year-old who has now been missing for five days.
Tony Jevon, a 55-year-old social worker from Perthshire, was at work while his partner and sister went for a walk with Kai.
“It was at Glen Nevis, on a footpath that takes you up the side of Ben Nevis,” he said.
“There is a car park about five miles from Fort William, it’s a very popular spot.
“I was working in Fort William and my wife and my sister were at the start of a munro. They were on a weekend trip.
“It’s a narrow path, just 10 feet wide in some places. It’s overgrown. He stepped on a bush of heather – he went over the side.
“It’s a 40 or 50 foot drop. The gorge is narrow at this point as well. The river at the bottom is full.”
His wife called the police who arrived and called on the Lochaber Mountain Rescue team.
Mr Jevon continued: “The rescue team got together eight folk and searched down the footpath by the river.
“They spent an hour looking for Kai along the river. They think he’d probably been swept away in the river.
“There is a chance if he survived the fall he might find his way out of the water.
“He’s experienced on mountains. He’s done 120 munros with us. He’s really experienced.
“He’s a good swimmer. This was a very rocky area with a cascade of water. It will have been difficult for his to swim in it but hopefully he scrambled out.”
Mr Jevon has posted messages on social media and lost dog sites urging people to look out for Kai.
“He’s chipped,” he said. “If anyone does find him please take him to a vet or to the police.”
He continued: “It’s been a terrible weekend.
“Kai has been a perfect dog since the time we got him. He’s very clever and caring. He loves children, he loves playing. He’s never without a stick in his mouth.”
The couple will be buoyed by the news that another sheepdog, who has been missing for a week in the same area, was returned home safe and well.
Jill the collie was rescued by the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team on Saturday after getting stuck on a 1,500ft ledge on near the Creag Meagaidh mountain at Glen Spean.
She was reported as being “right as rain” after eating a few jelly beans on her way home.