Mountain rescuers this afternoon came to the aid of more than 30 Wolverhampton school pupils who have been stranded in heavy snow on a remote Scottish island since Friday.
Roads on the Isle of Arran were so bad that rescuers were unable to reach pupils from St Edmund’s and St Peter’s Collegiate Schools until today.
The students had been due to arrive back from Scotland on Friday but blizzards and high winds on the Scottish island stopped them from travelling back to the mainland.
Power had been down since Friday and water supplies were also cut off.
It comes as forecasters warned the icy conditions will continue across the country all week. The 18 students from St Edmund’s and the 14 students from St Peter’s today broke the news of their rescue to concerned parents.
Simon Edgington’s daughter Chloe, a 16-year-old pupil at St Edmund’s, was one of the students stuck on the island. Mr Edgington, of Lower Penn, said: “Chloe called me to tell me mountain rescue had arrived and she sounded relieved that they were all on a coach and heading to the ferry port.
“It’s the first time mountain rescue have been able to get to them because the roads have been blocked with snow since last week. She said the wheels on the truck were around 4ft high so it had better chance getting through the snow than their coach.
“I’m just looking forward to her coming back home. I know they’ve not had a shower since last week so I can imagine a hot shower is the first thing she’ll want when she gets here. We just want her home.”
A coach load of sixth form pupils from both schools travelled to the Scottish island last weekend.
They were there for A-level geography and staying at Loch Ranza on the island. The Isle of Arran has seen Arctic conditions over the weekend, with temperatures dropping to -4C (25F)
Adrian Richards, headteacher of St Peter’s Collegiate School, said: “The students are being transferred to the ferry port, which had not been running since last week.
“Once the students get off the ferry they then have to travel back to Wolverhampton, which is some journey for them. They are expected to be back here later this evening. We look forward to greeting them.”
Head of St Edmund’s School Deirdre Finucane added: “Our priority has always been the wellbeing of the students and staff and we have been in constant contact with them and the parents of pupils.
“We have reassured parents but understandably it will only be until their children are home they will feel the most relief.”