A farm sheepdog that went missing in Snowdonia has been successfully reunited with her owner after drone pilots and volunteers mounted a four-day search effort.
Bess, a 12-year-old Border Collie, disappeared last Wednesday while rounding up sheep on Glyder Fawr, a mountain that stands at over 3,000 feet in Snowdonia.
After bringing the flock down to her owner, local farmer John Griffith, Bess circled back up to look for stragglers. When she failed to return, Mr Griffith searched the mountain unsuccessfully.
After a team of volunteers from Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team also failed to locate the sheepdog, John’s daughter Awen contacted Drone SAR for Lost Dogs UK. Drones were sent out to scout the area, but the terrain and fern cover made it difficult to spot anything.
John accompanied a volunteer search party and drones up the mountain on Sunday morning – with one drone pilot falling and breaking his ankle in the search.
“We met up at half nine in the morning. The drones went up and we started on foot. It was boiling hot,” said Nia Wynn, North Wales leader of Drone SAR for Lost Dogs UK.
Soon, Bess could be heard “howling” from a craggy area known locally as Clogwyn y Tarw, just above the farm where she went missing.
“Looking at where the sound was coming from,” said Nia Wynn, “it was treacherous, literally on the face of a mountain.
“I thought there wasn’t a chance.”
But searchers successfully climbed up and retrieved the lost dog, who had to be carried down as she had injured her leg falling into the ravine.
Reunited with Bess, John said: “I’m relieved to get her back.
“Her tail didn’t stop wagging as soon as she saw me. We were lucky she got stuck by the waterfall so she had a stream of water which kept her going.
“I would like to thank all the people involved,” he said.
Graham Burton, the founder of Drone SAR for Lost Dogs UK, said it had been an amazing rescue.
“When you help somebody reunite with their missing dog, you think – this is it, this is why we do it.
“It’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
Bess has since had a check-up with the vet and is back home, enjoying the start of her retirement.