Four men rescued from Ben Nevis in high winds and blizzard conditions have apologised to, and thanked, their rescuers.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and Inverness Coastguard helicopter went to the aid of the tourists, who were not equipped for winter hillwalking.

Following Monday’s incident, they have sent the team a donation along with gifts of whisky, wine and chocolates.

Lochaber MRT has thanked the men for the “generous offer”.

In a statement, the rescue team said the group had admitted to having made “a significant error of judgement” and were “extremely sorry”.

The rescue on Monday afternoon came during bad weather in the wake of Storm Ciara.

The four men, who were visiting Scotland from abroad, were taken to Belford Hospital in Fort William for treatment.

Lochaber MRT, like other mountain rescue teams, rely on grants and public donations for funding.

Responding to calls on social media for people to take out insurance before heading into Scotland’s hills, or for people to be charged for being rescued, the team said such measures would be unworkable.

“Where do you stop? Insurance for fishing, rugby, football all of which have more incidents and injuries than mountaineering?” said the team.

The team said efforts should be focused on increasing awareness of mountain safety and weather forecasts, adding that the rescued four men should be “cut a little bit of slack”.