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‘It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack’
AS an experienced hiker, Gordon Simm was the author of several guide books and had taken photographs for countless other guides.
The grandfather-of-four had planned his 12-mile route to a ridge overlooking the Rio Chillar gorge, in Spain’s Sierra Almijara mountains for some time.
But the former bakery engineer, from Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, has not been seen since setting out on the walk eight weeks ago.
He and his wife, Wendy, had booked the holiday to Nerja together to celebrate Mrs Simm’s 60th birthday.
The last she saw of her husband was when he left their hotel at 6am in a taxi to the start of the walk.
“We’d had dinner in the hotel the evening before and gone to the supermarket to get provisions for him,” she said.
“We’d been going to that area for the past seven years.
He hadn’t done that particular walk, but reaching that particular mountain was the challenge he wanted to do.
“He liked a challenge, but was not reckless. He would know if a place was dangerous to take extra care.”
Mrs Simm will today fly to Andalucia to be nearby as the latest search operation for her husband begins.
After Mr Simm was reported missing, Spanish authorities searched night and day for him, on foot with sniffer dogs and using helicopters.
The latest search has been organised by Dutch guide Michael Tweehuijsen, a friend of Mr Simm and a former marine.
Mrs Simm said she accepts her husband could not have survived eight weeks in the unforgiving heat and terrain he was walking in and that the chances of anyone finding her husband’s body were also slim.
But she said she was indebted to Mr Tweehuijsen for his relentless search.
“The chances of someone being found there are slim.
The terrain there is very difficult. You have all these deep gorges and ravines covered with vegetation and bushes. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But even if they can’t find him, I’ll still be indebted to Michael. He’s under no obligation to help – that another human being would do that restores your faith.”
Mrs Simm said she hoped her latest trip would go some way to helping her come to terms with the situation.
“We want some answers and some closure. It’s the not knowing. You’re going round with all these scenarios and awful thoughts of what could have happened.
“Gordon has done these walks all his life. He always loved walking. He loved the countryside. It would have been wrong of me to try to stop him. But I never, ever thought something like this would have happened.
“I’m 100 per cent sure something awful must have happened.
“He wouldn’t have wandered off. He was looking forward to his next trip, which was to Switzerland and was all booked.
“He loved his family; I’ve no doubt he loved me – and he loved life.
“I know that unless something dreadful has happened, he would have come back.”
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