St Andrews lecturer missing on Skye


A major search is ongoing for St Andrews lecturer Dr Oliver Smith, who has gone missing in the hills of the Isle of Skye (in the north west of Scotland).

Photo: University of St Andrews
Photo: University of St Andrews

Dr Smith, a lecturer in Russian at the University, was last seen on Saturday morning when he set off for the Cuillins.

According to police, the 33-year-old planned to climb the Blaven peak then descend and walk via Loch Coruisk and the coastal path to Elgol.

The alarm having been raised when he failed to return later that day, the search for Dr Smith is now in its third day, involving Skye Mountain Rescue Team, a Stornoway Coastguard helicopter and police dogs.


Mr Smith is described as 5ft 7in, of slim build with short brown hair and stubble. He wears glasses and when last seen he was dressed in khaki trousers, a black jacket, black hat and he was carrying a small blue/grey rucksack.


Dr Smith lives in Cupar with his partner Shelly and young daughter. A statement from the family earlier today said: “Oliver’s family would like to express their immense gratitude to all those involved in the ongoing search and rescue operation, as well as to those who have offered their kind support in other ways.”

A spokesperson for the University said: “We are deeply concerned for Oliver and remain in close touch with his family.  Our thoughts are very much with them and with him at this difficult time.”

A St Andrews student contacted by The Saint described their experience of having been taught by Dr Smith as follows: “He was a really good teacher, very friendly and approachable. He always made sure students understood what they were learning and tried to be as fun about it as possible.”

Another student, currently in Russia on their year abroad, added: “I have to give a lot of credit to Dr Smith, not only as a great tutor but also a fantastic year abroad coordinator who has been looking out for us and keen to hear how we are getting on in Russia. I really hope they find him soon so he can be back with his family!”

Nick Self, another former student of Dr Smith, said: “When I was taught by Dr Smith his enthusiasm for Russian was plain to see. He managed to get a class of awkward first years to belt out the Russian national anthem whilst he skillfully played the accordion. He seems a genuinely nice person and if I hadn’t dropped Russian I would have hoped to become better acquainted with him.

“I truly hope he returns to the job he so obviously loves sooner rather than later, and my thoughts are with his family in what must be an unimaginably terrible time.”


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