THE body of an East Lancashire walker has been found six months after he went missing on a Scottish mountain.

Grant Cunliffe, 49, had been walking alone in the Cairngorm mountains, in the Highlands, when he disapp-eared on January 19.

The former hairdresser was train- ing to become a winter outdoor activities assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Despite two major searches, the use of search dogs, and weekly smaller searches, mountain rescue teams were unable to find his body because of the severe snow and icy conditions, police said.

His body was eventually discov-ered by an RAF search and rescue helicopter on a training exercise in the Braeriach area.

He is thought to have died from injuries suffered during a ‘major’ fall after stepping on to a frozen waterfall which had been disguised as part of the cliff face by the ‘severe’ blizzard like conditions.

He was due to contact his family on Saturday, January 21, but failed to do so, and the alarm was raised.

A three-day search was stood down by police around 4pm on January 24, after finding no trace of him.

He is believed to have headed south from Aviemore on a 23-mile walk into Corrour Bothy, a moun-tain refuge in the Lairig Ghru pass.

The last contact he made with his family was when he phoned from the refuge to say he would probably be out of range for a couple of days.

Mr Cunliffe, from Blacko, who had walked in the Cairngorms several times before, needed to sleep in a snow hole for two days as part of his training, but had gone off trekking when he realised there hadn’t been enough snow to comp-lete the challenge.

Mr Cunliffe, a dad-of-two, had owned David Grant Hair Design, in Barnoldswick for 25 years. He was former head boy at Edge End High School, in Nelson.

His wife Linda, of Long Meadow West End, Long Preston, said: “The whole family is very relieved but, in the same breath, very, very sad.”

He also leaves daughters Jessica, 21, and Olivia, 16. His funeral will be at St Mary’s Parish Church, Long Preston, on June 18.