Rescuers walked for miles in bad weather to help an injured man only to find him safe with his friends in a bothy with a “sore tendon”.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team were assisted by members of Tayside MRT in Monday night’s call-out in high winds and snow in the Cairngorms.

The man and his friends were found in the shelter in their sleeping bags.

In what they described as a “rare rant”, Cairngorm MRT said the incident had been a “total abuse” of resources.

The team stressed its members were always ready to help when needed.

The man, described as being in his 20s, had dialled 999 after getting into difficulty and also separated from his two friends on a walk along the shores of Loch Ericht, south of Dalwhinnie.

He told police he was cold, wet and had injured a leg. He was able to give a grid reference for his location.

But Cairngorm MRT said the man had then carried on walking to Ben Alder Cottage Bothy, without letting the emergency services know he had done this.

A Coastguard helicopter would have been involved in the rescue effort, but was unable to fly because of the weather conditions during Storm Brendan.

Members of Cairngorm MRT made a round trip of 16 miles (26km), while members of Tayside MRT had started a search from the south of the grid reference given to police

Remote area

After not finding the man where he said he was, the rescue team decided to check the bothy.

On social media, Cairngorm MRT thanked well wishers for their messages following the call-out before saying: “We rarely criticise but this was total abuse of our resources.

“He was found in the bothy with his mates in their sleeping bags. He said he had a sore tendon. Oh well.”

The team added: “Rant over and it’s full winter conditions at last on the hill. Enjoy yourselves. But if you need us we will come.”

Cairngorm MRT leader Willie Anderson told BBC Scotland it appeared to have been an “honest mistake” made by an inexperienced young walker.

But he said there had seemed to have been a lack of preparedness for the forecast bad weather in a remote area, adding that the emergency services should have got a follow-up call to say the man was safe with his friends.

The group planned to return to where they had parked their cars on Tuesday morning.