Brit hiker on 6-year Europe tour missing in Pyrenees as partner says 'I'm broken'

A BRITISH hiker on six-year tour of Europe vanished in the Pyrenees, leaving her bereft partner "broken" as a frantic search ensues.

Esther Dingley, 37, chatted to her partner Dan Colegate on Whatsapp last Sunday on top of the Pic de Sauvegarde, which is located at the France-Spain border.

Dingley's solo trip was supposed to end on Wednesday but she hasn't been seen since and Colegate is "broken" and "shattered" by her sudden disappearance.

French authorities have launched a desperate search for Dingley, who had been traveling in the couple's camper van while Colegate stayed at a farm in Gascony.

The Durham couple started a blog together called "Esther and Dan" after they began trekking around Europe in 2014, alongside their five dogs.

They decided to travel after "a health scare motivated us to leave our jobs and start touring Europe by foot, bike & motorhome," according to their shared Facebook page.

Colgate said Dingley had been away for a month before she went missing, the BBC reported.


Her devastated partner of 18 years said their last conversation was about "how excited we were to see each other as this was her last trip before driving back."

Dingley was last spotted on top of the mountain at about 16:00 GMT on Sunday, 22 November.

She'd started walking from Benasque in Spain on Saturday and plannedto spend Sunday night at Refuge Venasque in France, her partner said.

Colegate revealed that the ongoing searches for her have unearthed "no sign at all" of the missing woman and temperatures are dropping with light snow fall in the area.


"She always tried to keep in touch but sometimes on her hikes was out of contact for a couple of days," he said. "This is not looking good."

The Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (PGHM), said it was "actively looking" for Dingley.

In an emotional Facebook post on Saturday, Colgate shared the last picture Dingley sent him before she vanished.

"The only purpose of this post is to ask for prayers, thoughts, candles and whatever you have," he wrote.

"I've not been saying anything, but this wonderful person believes in the power of positive thought and right now I'll take anything if it means that she can be found.

"I need her back. I can't face the alternative. I'm heading back up searching now so I can't reply to comments or messages. Sorry for the haste and inadequacy of these words."

Dingley and Colgate have hiked in the Alps together, crashed a hot air balloon by the Nile, and been diving in the Mediterranean Sea before she vanished.

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