Tributes to woman killed by lightning strike

10 June 2019, 15:11

Isobel Bytautas

Tributes have been paid to "caring" Isobel Bytautas who was struck by lightning and killed while walking on a Highland mountain range.

Fellow walkers from Ms Bytautas's rambling group have described her as "a very caring person" and said they will honour her by keeping "the memories of her alive beside us when out in the hills".

The 55-year-old was walking with the Linlithgow Ramblers on Na Gruagaichean, a mountain about five miles south of Ben Nevis, when she and another woman were struck by lightning.

Ms Bytautas died from her injuries while the other casualty is said to be in a stable condition after being airlifted to Belford Hospital in Fort William once the group had been located by coastguard and helimed helicopter crews and the Glencoe Mountain Rescue team.

The chairman of the rambling group, John Allen, passed on his condolences to Ms Bytautas's family as he paid tribute to the keen walker.

Mr Allen said: "Linlithgow Ramblers are shocked and saddened by the death of Isobel on Saturday but first and foremost our thoughts go out to Isobel's family at this hugely difficult time.

"Our thoughts are also with the other members of the group, who are all now home safely having endured something no one wishes to experience.

"Isobel's first walk with the Linlithgow Ramblers was, as I recall, back in April of 2017 - a munro in Glen Etive called Beinn nan Aighenan.

"Isobel was attracted to the Linlithgow group by their walk programme which included a good number of munros.

"From that very first occasion, Isobel just fitted in so easily no matter who and the size of the group.

"Isobel was a lovely lady and great company out on the hills. She was always ready to chat away like you had known her forever.

"Isobel became well known within the group, joined us on weekends away and was always keen for an adventure.

"She had a passion for walking in the hills and walking in new places.

"Isobel was a very caring person and it has been a privilege to have walked with her.

"We as a group, especially individuals who knew her well, will feel her loss for a long time, but I think the best way we can honour Isobel is to keep the memories of her alive beside us when out in the hills."

Adding to the tributes, advocacy director for The Ramblers Tompion Platt said: "We are all deeply shocked to hear this tragic news.

"Our thoughts and sincerest condolences are with Isobel's family and friends - and with those of the other injured walker and Linlithgow group - today.

"Our focus now is on supporting those involved in any way we can."

Inspector Isla Campbell said: "We are grateful for the prompt and professional response from partner agencies to this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the lady's family."

A statement from Police Scotland added: "At 5.42pm on Saturday June 8, Police Scotland were alerted to an incident where two members of a walking group comprising seven people had been struck by lightning and injured.

"The party were traced on Na Gruagaichean in the Mamore Range near Kinlochleven.

"Two casualties and the rest of their party were airlifted to Fort William.

"Sadly, a woman aged 55 years died as a result of her injuries.

"Another woman was taken by ambulance to Belford Hospital in Fort William where her condition is stable.

"The next of kin of the woman who died have been advised and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."