A 74-YEAR-OLD hiker is safe and well after going missing in atrocious conditions.
Kenneth Wallington, from the Malpas area, was walking in the countryside surrounding Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, near Chirk, on Wednesday, but got lost from his planned route.
With darkness drawing in, he set up an improvised overnight shelter against the elements to keep safe.
The alert for help was raised by a relative after Mr Wallington did not return home from the hike.
A rescue operation was launched including about 16 members of North East Wales Search and Rescue (NEWSAR), police and Rescue 122 helicopter from RAF Valley.
Yesterday Mr Wallington was spotted by a member of NEWSAR making his way towards Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog after spending the night in the open.
Iain Ashcroft, team leader of NEWSAR, said Mr Wallington was an experienced walker and well equipped.
That in-depth preparation had proved a crucial factor for him out in the wilderness.
Mr Ashcroft said: “We got to the village by about 4am, prepared for an hour and started searching at 5am.
“The conditions were terrible. The rain was virtually horizontal. Then it cleared, but it started raining again.
“The operation went according to plan. At one stage Rescue 122 landed close to the centre of the village so that I could brief them about the situation.”
Mr Wallington was seen at about 11am yesterday, as he returned to the village.
“This was a very successful outcome and it is what we train for,” said Mr Ashcroft.
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “It is believed the man lost his way while walking and bedded down for the night.
“North Wales Police would like to thank all agencies involved in the search.”