Missing Brit hiker took lift from mystery man three days before vanishing

A missing British hiker who was trekking in the mountains of France and Spain had a lift from a stranger three days before she vanished, it has emerged.

Adventurer Esther Dingley, 37, posted on Facebook that bad weather made her accept a lift from a fellow hiker who police are now trying to track down.

Esther was on foot last month with the plan to walk along the French and Spanish border from the Port de la Glere to the Port de Venasque.

According to her social media post on November 19, Esther looks to have decided to return to the valley where her camper van was parked.

Her boyfriend Dan Colegate, 38, was due to meet her at a farm he was staying at in Gascony on Wednesday, but she never showed.

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Esther wrote: "I had the option of staying at a great cabin, even had a mattress, but it was only 2pm or going down with my fellow hiker and getting a lift.

"He'd take me further up the valley so I could continue my planned tour to another refuge or back to the camper…"

The mystery man is thought to have dropped Oxford University graduate Esther off at Benasque on the Spanish side of the mountain range where police found her van.

An investigative source in Spain told The Sun: "This man would have had conversations with her and may know what she planned.

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"They may have arranged to meet and hike another route. It is imperative that we find him."

Mobile phone signals are said to be crucial in finding out what happened to Esther after Dan said police had begun looking at options "beyond an accident", following an extensive search of the trek route and mountains.

She last contacted Dan over a week ago when she sent him a selfie atop the 8,983-ft Pic de Sauvegarde at 4pm on November 22.

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