A GROUP of Pontypool teenagers had to be rescued from the highest road pass in Wales in blizzard conditions on last night.

Abergavenny-based Longtown Mountain Rescue Team was called to the aid of the four youngsters and their trainer who had become stranded in their minibus on the top of Gospel Pass between Abergavenny and Hay-on-Wye.

The team used two specially equipped Land Rovers to reach the group who were trapped in a snow drift at 1800ft on the pass.

The rescue operation took four hours and the teenagers were taken back to the outdoor education centre, in Cusop, where they were staying at midnight.

Luke Lewis, deputy team leader, of Longtown MRT, said: “The conditions were atrocious, with drifting snow, blizzards, ice and high winds, but our vehicles are equipped to deal with this. The teenagers were cold and tired but otherwise okay. The centre had tea and biscuits waiting for everyone when we arrived.

“This recent cold weather has caught a lot of people out and has kept all the mountain rescue teams in South Wales very busy.

“We would remind any walker or motorist intending to head into the mountains to watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and to be well prepared, with spare warm clothing, food and drinks. While walkers must always carry a map, compass and torch.”