A COUNCILLOR says he is fortunate to have escaped injury after the minibus he was travelling in for a charity challenge lost a wheel in the depths of the Scottish Highlands.

Cllr Ishtiaq Mohammed was with his 14-year-old son Ali Murtaza Ishtiaq and a group of nine others to climb Ben Nevis.

But as they were driving from the Old Man of Storr mountain in the Isle of Skye on Saturday towards their base camp the wheel of the vehicle broke off.

Cllr Mohammed said: “I was driving at around 25-30mph on a single lane road when I noticed something wasn’t quite right with the minibus.

“I stopped on the roadside and noticed that a wheel had come off.

“I knew at this point that I wouldn’t be able to continue.

“I was very shaken and scared.

“It could have been a lot worse and I had a lucky escape, as if I’d been driving quicker or not stopped straight away, I could have veered off the road or down a cliff.”

The AA came out and eventually got them back to the base camp at Resipole campsite, which took four hours by road.

However, they could not provide a vehicle to get to the Ben Nevis camp or fix the van at the campsite.

They were stranded until today at their campsite as none of the recovery companies can get to them due to remoteness of the location, which is two to three hours by road to the nearest town.

Cllr Mohammed said he was devastated their bid to climb the UK's highest mountain was ruined because it was to raise money to buy ‘vital’ hospital equipment.

He said: "We were driving from the Old Man of Storr Mountain in the Isle of Skye on Saturday towards our base camp when a wheel of the minibus broke off.

"By the time the AA came out and got us back to the campsite, it was 3am.

"None of the recovery companies can get to us because of where we are so we will have to wait until Monday to be rescued.

"Every journey is two-three hours in the car in every direction so we are stuck at the site.

"We were very lucky it wasn't a more serious accident but it's still ruined the climb.

"My 14-year-old son is very upset too."

Cllr Mohammed who represents Queensgate on Burnley Council, is aiming to raise funds for the East Lancashire Hospital Trust’s new charity, ‘ELHT&me’, to help fund a new endoscopy machine, treatment table and monitors.

The charity offers people ways to raise money for certain services in the trust.

But Cllr Mohammed has still raised £550 to help fund equipment which he said would enable a further 48 hospital patients per week to be checked, diagnosed and possibly treated.

Determined the make the best of a bad situation, the group yesterday instead climbed Beinn Resipol, near the campsite, which is 827m high.

He said: “The technology I am trying to fund will go along way.

“It will enable a further 48 patients per week to be checked, diagnosed and possibly treated, that’s almost 2,500 per year.

“The appeal will enable the trust to expand its capacity for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

“It will also help improve local provision, providing specialist investigation near to people’s homes; and, increase their ability to treat the simplest cases at the point of examination.

“Everyone in the East Lancashire area will benefit.

"My goal was to raise awareness and funds for the ELHT&me to improve the experience for patients at our hospitals.

“Burnley Teaching General Hospital is already stretched to its limits and it needs much more to help relieve the pressure.

"So we are absolutely devastated about what's happened."

But a defiant Mr Mohammed vowed to return to complete the Ben Nevis challenge again.

Mr Mohammed said: "I want to thank everyone who supported us during this and we will definitely return to do this again.

"The only positive I can see from this is we will have time to raise even more money for the hospital."

To donate towards Cllr Mohammed's cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ishtiaq-mohammed?utm_id=27.