Off to Skye Loch Coruisk!

The old Ferry

I am heading over to Skye camping at Coruisk with the Moray Mountaineering Club, we have the use of the JMCS hut and I taking my tent with me as the hut is great but a bit small it sleeps 8.  I will be getting the Bella Jane ferry weather permitting leaving from Elgol today and praying for good weather. Its a long drive over up at 0500 but will be worth it to be in this special place.

2007 Bella Jane boat trip to Loch Coruisk.

The Bella Jane is easy and safe to board with 100% non-slip surfaces and an elevated level open deck giving excellent views.
We have a weather canopy and wheelhouse seating for passenger comfort and shower capes are also available on board.We give an informative commentary on every trip which brings colour and depth to your visit. This is also available (in text form) in German, French, Italian and Spanish. Over our 25 years the Bella Jane and AquaXplore have been featured on TV many, many times – including the Travel Show, Wish You Were Here, Coast, Grand Tours of Scotland and many other documentaries and films.During the trip to Loch Coruisk we visit the resident seal colony which lives on the small islands at the foot of the mountains. Males and females can be seen as well as new born pups from mid June.

Coruisk from the slabs of the Dubhs Ridge

 I love this place so much and it will be great no matter what the weather, this ice scooped loch makes this a specail place to visit. In wild weather it can be very remote and access can be awkward and when the streams rise it can be hard to get back.”The hut has nine bunks, bring your own sleeping bag and ear plugs. Gas lights & cooker, all utensils, running water and a loo. I’ve heard the midges have started early this year so repellent might be useful. The hut is very small.

To get into Coruisk you have three options – walk in from Elgol which is about six miles; Via the Bad Step and a big river crossing.

The Bad Step !

 

You can kayak; or take the Bella Jane from Elgol. Full details here http://www.bellajane.co.uk/ There are four or five scheduled sailings a day, weather dependant.

Loch Coruisk has been visited by some famous people: Sir Walter Scott, Boswell and Johnson and the painter JMW Turner.

 

The view from Elgol. Photo Chris Morrison.

Coruisk is believed to have been formed around 280,000 years ago by glacial activity. The last glacier retreating about 10,000 years ago. Coruisk – Coir Uisg in Gaelic – means corrie of water.It is advisable when taking the walk to Loch Coruisk to wear sturdy shoes or walking boots.Dogs are very welcome but we advise you to contact us prior to your trip.

Lets see how the weather goes.

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Bothies, Corbetts and other hills, Enviroment, Equipment, mountain safety, Other hills Grahams & Donalds, Recomended books and Guides, Rock Climbing, Sailing trips, SAR, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

A night I will never forget! F111 Crash on the Isle of Skye 7 December 1982

Wort a read again ?

heavywhalley

A night I will never forget! F111 Crash on the Isle of Skye 7 December 1982

F111 Plaque

“At about 8 pm on the night of 7 December 1982 after descending to about 1000ft over Loch Scavaig, an F-111F aircraft struck the southern face of the 1620 foot peak Sgurr na Stri, Strathaird*. The unarmed aircraft, serial number 70-2377, was on a regular training mission from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The pilot in the left hand seat of the aircraft was Major (Lt Col. selectee) Burnley L. (“Bob”) Rudiger Jr., aged 37, from Norfolk, Virginia. Major Rudiger was survived by a wife and two children who were then resident at Risby, Suffolk.

The weapons system operator in the right seat was 1st Lt. Steven J. Pitt, 28, from East Aurora, New York. Lt. Pitt was survived by a wife and two children, then resident at Icklingham, Suffolk.

* The Strathaird estate was…

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Mountain First Aid – Part 2 and a few comments?

This the second part of a few thoughts on early Mountain Rescue First Aid /Emergency Care. I spoke about the efforts of the early pioneers like Donald Duff, I Jones and others. It is fantastic to see how far things have moved on and now the Mountain Rescue has its own Bespoke Courses at all levels and there are so many great providers out there a far cry from the early years. Your comments are welcome.

Over the years there has been Massive training /medical equipment/ improvements  in medical kit. This ranged from training, bespoke stretchers, lightweight oxygen bottles,  casualty bags and gear that has made things a lot better over the year. The use of helicopters the incredible skills of the winch men and crews have moved things to another level.

1960 SPLIT STRETCHERS GLENCOE

Hamish MacInnes designed his first folding stretcher in the early 1960’s. Made from aluminium alloy, some of those early stretchers are still in use. The design has been continuously improved over the years and they have been used on five Everest expeditions. The MK6 splits in two and is carried to an accident scene on special pack frames and is extremely rugged. The latest MK7 model, made from space age materials, has amazing strength and resistance to abrasion or low temperatures. This one piece stretcher meets the requirements for disasters, military operations, dedicated helicopter work and mountain rescue. Nowadays there are many stretchers all designed for the unique use in the mountains, a far cry from the early days

In the RAF we tried to keep up with the changes and I  felt for a time we were getting in my mind to complicated in the Para medic training. As a Team Leader it became so hard to keep those in date and proficient with training!  These were mainly part – time volunteers who found it difficult to get time off to attend training in local hospitals that was essential to stay current. Some RAF Team members got frustrated and in my view there were a few mistakes made in these early days . I had a few problems on big incidents when I had to call a halt on the medical side due to the danger of avalanches or time constraints and get the patient and the team out of the danger area. At times the troops got so involved in the medical side they forgot that our job was to get casualty to medical help as quick as possible after we had done what we could to assist. These problems took time to sort out but I feel that things got better over the years.

In the RAF MR we were sent on advanced course IEC at Halton and worked with the Oxford Ambulance service at the end of the course gaining experience.  It was great when we got a few RAF helicopter winchmen as instructors like, the late Mick Anderson and Ian Bonthrone. A few troops have now become NHS para medics after they left the service. We also trained with the USAF, Para Rescue in many training exercises and a few went to the USA to complete the course.

What can we do in wild conditions? At times the best is to get casualty of the hill as quickly and safely as possible.

In the end we now have a better balance of Mountain medical care and what we can do to in and it is always improving.Nowadays Mountain Rescue has its own Bespoke Courses but over the years great works has been done by many so medical providers with all teams running annual courses and many now have para medics in each team as standard. This is a long way from these early days and we must never forget those pioneers who pushed the standards.

 

A few comments from yesterday’s Blog:

Three P’s principal got lost at times? Comments welcome … v true bt I’d use ‘KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid); there’s only so much you can do on the hill-side without a hospital. It’s easy to get ‘sucked in’ to focus on the casualty’s medical problem whilst the big picture is saying to get out ASAP. I think most casualties in mountain accidents are either dead before the MRT arrive (‘cos usually it takes so long to assemble team & get there) or get killed by the environment (cold, wet, distance / time to hospital). Helicopters often get there quicker, so get the casualties that are ‘nearly dead’.

I always recall Mick Anderson’s brief explanation to me in training (my IEC at Halton & again on Mt Kenya) – identify the injured part of casualty & strap it to their head. Of course, you can’t actually do that but it has all the key messages for me:

1) Don’t fart about trying to get a ‘perfect’ medical fix, you can’t

2) Imobilise head+neck – they may not thank you @ time but its a lifestyle saver

3) imobilise injured parts so they don’t get worse

4) elevate the same injured bits to reduce bleeding / swelling.

5) With your now secure cas, get off the hill & to hospital ASAP where they have the clever gear & environment to do the medical bit.

6) Life saving is possible with minimal kit.

From M Gibson

 

G Mac – Always mind the slide show showing different injuries and wounds, with some preceded by a warning in a welsh accent – “This is a particularly gory slide…” Followed a short while latter by the sound of someone in the room passing out and hitting the floor! This was Oh years back it was down at Ullswater when I did my Ieuan Jones – it was a requirement for MIA at the time!

Chalky White –  It was difficult to differentiate between the “slightly gory slide” and the “particularly gory slide”. Great courses and loads of fun injecting each other!! The late Tony Jones ran ours at RAF Kinloss 79/80.

Mick Taylor –  Spent time in Bangor A&E working with Ieuan in preparation for USAF, Para Rescue 7th level (EMT) medical training at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Still have photos etc as does (possibly) Pete Weatherill

Woody – I think Ieuan ,changed everything ,prior to his input ,I think our general philosophy had been ,get to the casualty ,get them off the hill asap ,often before they died ! .

Frank Mac – I re member Ieuan well through my times at Stafford & later at Kinloss. A great man who shared many of his experiences with us all

Kev Mitchell – If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Graham Percival ( trauma nurse specialist on helimed ) from our team his slides should carry a health warning – does the job though!! The general level of casualty care has increased massively over the last few years which is all good.

I think it is time I did a refresher, have you ?

 

Comments welcome.

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Mountain First Aid – the early days – Donald Duff – Dave Danter – Ieuan Jones.

Many take for granted the huge improvements in Mountain First Aid and Wilderness medicine. It has been developed over the years and even in my time in the mountains it has improved so much. I had a message from a pal in Wales asking me about the famous Welsh Doctor Ieuan Jones asking for information as he ran many First Aid Courses that were a huge change in the format at the time. He was at Bangor Hospital in North Wales who many will remember was at the forefront of Mountain First Aid in the 70’s/80’s.

This got me thinking and these are a few memories of my early thoughts from 1971 and before.

In earlier days it was amazing what was down with simple gear when everything was basic and first aid post were set up in various places. Mountaineers did there best and as you can see from the photo below it was simple equipment and training.

1936 injured mountaineer fractured femur – bed from CIC Hut is the stretcher

Many forget that at the end of the war retired army officer Donald Duff was appointed surgeon at the Belford Hospital in Fort William bringing with him an  added impetus to the mountain rescue scene with innovative training exercises on both the technical and medical side.

Donald Duff at Polldubh – Mick Tighe photo

He patented one of the first ever mountain rescue stretchers in 1946 and, interestingly, was involved in legal battles with the Home Office concerning the administration of morphia to casualties. The Home Office maintaining (1949) that “morphia is bad for the man on the mountain”. Donald Duff – an officer and a gentleman – was leader of Lochaber Team during the late ’40’s and early ’50’s.

1950-letter-ref-stretcher

The letter above was from Doctor Donald Duff the famous pioneer who was the surgeon in charge at the Belford hospital in Fort William. He was in the process of designing a new stretcher that he used in Wales in 1941. He had was working on a collapsible/ folding stretcher, sledge with wheels. I found the reply that RAF Kinloss wrote that they thought that the idea of a wheel or wheels would be in there view impracticable for mountain use! They were working on their own ideas but would have a look at Donald Duffs stretcher. It became a winner!

The RAF were hugely influencial and if you look further back how simple the training and gear was. Yet look at 2 star red Gwen Moffat and the incredible Sqn Ldr Dave Danter the Officer i/c RAF Kinloss MRT  in the early 50’s he used to cut himself and let the troops stitch him up and practice injections on himself! RAF teams used Morphine on early Call – outs one of the first in a Scotland used on Buachaille Etive Mor Glencoe in the early 50’s.There were huge changes over the years many courses now purely for the mountains, wilderness and expedition medicine.

Basics

Before that in 1975 I did the First Aid with the St John’s with the team and then an instructors course at RAF Halton that was pretty hard at the time! It was a 2 week course mainly military First Aid and dealing with multi casualties. We had annual refreshers and mostly classroom practical with a little outside and a few times on the crags.

The Iuean Jones course was over 2 days North Wales  I did mine in North Wales 1979 – 1982 . Tony Jones was also there and assisted there were lots of great photos by the man himself of many of other injuries.  I remember the awful horse bite on face was horrendous. There was also the famous quote- “another gory slide “It was the first time that we had photos of injuries! ”

My Team leader at the time Al Haveron was a great pal of his and will have lots more info as was the late Tony Jones who along with others helped run the courses. It was one of the forerunner of Mountain first aid specific for the hill!   I was lucky enough to meet him many times – his first aid course was bespoke at the time and one of the first purely for Mountain Rescue and was the standard that many nowadays followed!

I did the Teams Course one at RAF Valley in North Wales on a specific weekend then updated regularly did one at Llanryst 1980 with the PTI ‘s  and Eric Jones the Climber was doing it as well with us ! I had a great time with him – he said that there are a few accidents at Tremadoc where he ran the cafe and he was getting a bit of an update!

More to follow Hamish’s Stretchers etc

 

“The kit on the outside and the equipment may have changed.

Underneath the heart and soul of the troops remains the same.”

W.MacRitchie – RAF Lossiemouth MR Team Leader

 

Any stories please of these early days?

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A visit to Joss Gosling RAF Mountain Rescue, Hamish MacInnes and the 1963 Dubhs Ridge accident. A hard 5 days with great sadness.

I needed an easy day before my party in Onich so I went into Fort William for a breakfast and some shopping then a visit to see Joss Gosling who at 88 is a veteran of the RAF Mountain Rescue and a dear pal. I had a lovely time with Joss and Annie and we caught up. Joss was on the Lancaster Crash on Beinn Eighe in 1951 and took the great photos of this epic incident. He is a great mine of information of the early days of Mountain Rescue and we had some fun reminiscing.

RAF Mountain Rescue legend Joss Gosling a long standing pal and a hero of a past generation. Photo – Richard Else

It was then down to see Hamish MacInnes in Glencoe and I caught him out for a walk into the village and we had a few hours together. He has so much on projects running and when I told him I was off to Skye next week to Loch Coruisk he told me more information on the epic call out on the Dubhs Ridge in 1963 in winter it was so full of detail and information I could sit and listen all day.

Hamish and Paul Moores

Another pal arrived Paul Moores a Guide who I have known for many years looking as ever like some “blond God” and we had a great catch up. I left then to discuss Hamish’s next project and marvelled at this incredible man’s capacity  to keep going with new projects what a man.

As I said we  had a chat about a huge call – out in Skye the story is so well told in Hamish MacInnes’s book “Call – out” When I spoke to Hamish a few years ago I asked him about a call – out that stuck in his mind. I was expecting one of the epics in Glencoe but it was New Year 1963 and a very serious accident in Skye where Hamish and his wife Cathy was taking a break in Skye after a busy Christmas of Rescues in Glencoe. How wrong he was to be as he was expecting a quiet time! It all started when a group of climbers from the Glasgow University Mountaineering Club and a few pals went to the JMTC hut at Coruisk in Skye for the New Year.

Coruisk Call -out

The Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut was built in 1959 in memory of two young climbers who lost their lives whilst climbing on Ben Nevis on April 1st 1953. During the opening day of the Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut there was a ceremony dedicating the hut to the memory of Peter Drummond Smith and David Monro. It was then handed into the care of the Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland who maintain it to this day.

The Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut is situated in an ideal location. It provides visitors with quick and easy access to a number of popular climbs on the Cuillin Hills including Sgurr na Stri, the ‘Bad Step’ and the walk from Loch Coruisk to Elgol through Camasunary. It also gives good access to Sligachan or Glenbrittle, the Dubhs, Druim nan Ramh, Garsbheinn and many more famous climbing and walking routes on the Isle of Skye.

The story of Coruisk Tragedy is well worth re – telling.

Hamish was just finishing pruning trees for a friend in Glen Brittle when he saw someone running alone off the hill. It was late in the day and Hamish knew something was wrong and tells the tale. He was told by the climber that three climbers had fallen at the back of the Dubhs one is still alive and a climber is with them.  The journey for the informant across a winter Skye ridge all the way to Glenbrittle must have been a real test and what thoughts must he have had?  This is in the days of no phones on the hill, basic torches for lighting and the middle of winter with lots of ice but little snow. Hamish set off with his wife and the informant to locate the accident and had called for assistance from the Portree Police Team and RAF Kinloss MRT who were at Fort William for New Year. It would have been a busy time for Kinloss who had dealt with a few call – outs already including one for a team member who had broken a leg! As Hamish says how John Hinde the Team Leader managed to get hold of the team who were scattered to the wind as it was New Year remains a mystery to this day. Hamish also remembered that the Junior Mountaineering Club Of Scotland (JMCOfS) were at Kintail for Hogmanay and were asked to help.

The Dubhs in summer in winter a different proposition covered in ice.

These were the days of everyone helping when trouble arrived on the hills. It was dark when Hamish, his wife Cathy and the survivor left and one can only imagine the thoughts as they trudged in over the ridge in very difficult conditions to try to save the injured climber and locate his companion. How the informant made another epic trek over the ridge with Hamish is a tale in its own. It was in very tricky winter conditions with ice and verglas everywhere. This is a hugely complex area and in the dark they searched but could not find any sign of the accident, they were exhausted and the conditions were extremely tricky with the verglas and ice everywhere. It is a huge complex descent in the dark and in winter as wild as anywhere in the UK.   In the end exhausted they made their way down to the hut at Coruisk where the rest of the group were staying. Here they found the survivor who told them the grim news and that all the climbers were dead. With no communications one can only imagine the thoughts of the locals and Police who tried to assist that night. Only a few had crampons and lighting was by Tilly light on serious winter ground.  After an epic theY  also decided to return to Glen Brittle and wait for daylight.

What follows is an epic with a two-day recovery for the three climbers killed in the accident.  RAF Kinloss MRT and others from the local team arrived at Coruisk by boat and then began as Hamish states a very difficult recovery.  Over 35 people were involved to carry the three fatalities off down 2300 feet of the worst terrain in Scotland.  The An Garbh Corrie is one of the roughest in Scotland and wild and inhospitable place. Belays were very sparse and conditions incredibly difficult and most of it was done in the dark down icy slabs, with boulders crashing down all the night.  Crampons bit on the rocks like broken glass making life incredibly difficult but the recovery was completed and they arrived at back at the hut with the casualties. These were all strong hard mountaineers all putting their lives on the line for the recovery of the climbers. One can only imagine how the friends of the party felt as they were brought down to the climbing hut at Coruisk and this was an incredible testing time for all. This call – out, though I have just briefly mentioned some of what happened is the one that Hamish remembers and when he spoke again he remembered every fact, as clear as day.  He knew most of the characters of the Kinloss Team John Hinde was leading the team and recovering from frostbite after a trip to Denali in Alaska. Geordie Patterson, Jack Baines and Ian Sykes were all part of the recovery. Most mountaineers knew each other and it was a small world as was rescue in these days. They all have told me of this rescue and what memories of the epics of the recovery, most are men who say little after a rescue. What a story of a terrible tragedy and how all the climbing community, locals, climbers, rescuers and Police worked together.  The boat came in Coruisk took all the casualties and rescuers back in wild weather. Hamish remembers that after a few drams some of the team began to sing as the tension from the rescue wore off. This is all part of the way team member’s cope with a tragedy on the mountains.

The Dubhs Ridge in summer.

The effect of those left in the hut was one Hamish will never forget and there was great grief and sadness throughout the recovery. Get hold of “Call – out” and read the full account. I have done several rescues in this area with the Skye Team in the past and as WH Murray states that the “An Garbh Corrie is one of the wildest Corries in Scotland.” I can concur that! All say it was a very hard task moving 3 fatalities on tricky icy ground and steep slabs must have been awful for all involved.

We nowadays have all the equipment, navigational aids and even so the communications can be very difficult without helicopters in poor weather these wild corries are still an extremely serious place to be. These were truly hard mountain people.

“I never slept properly for 5 days” Hamish words on my last visit.

There are so many epics in this tale.

Further reading advised:

Call – out Hamish MacInnes

Two Star Red – Gwen Moffat – will give a feel for this era.

In The Shadow of Ben Nevis – Spike Sykes.

We follow in the footsteps of heroes.

Posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | 5 Comments

A Long Journey back, so many great people/ characters Bill Shankly Memorial and the views outstanding Glencoe magic.

 

I left down South at 0200 to miss the traffic on the motorways. Unfortunately the best laid schemes of “mice and men” and the closure of the M6 from junction 14 – 16 and the Birmingham works all added to a long journey. I was hoping for clear run and to be in the Borders by daybreak and climb a Corbett. Sadly it was  raining when I got to Gretna and misty on the tops so I gave my hill a miss and headed for Ayr where my sisters live. I have only a few Corbetts left and have had done enough hills in the rain.

Glenbuck – Bill Shankly Memorial

On the way in the rain I stopped at Glenbuck where the famous Liverpool football manager Bill Shankly was born in this now deserted coal mining village.   It was another era where thousands were employed in the coal mines and this was a thriving area and a huge part of industrial Scotland. Now as you travel through the various villages it is a sad place with so many places shut down and looking grim. How many of Scotland’s top people especially managers and footballers came from this way of life.   There had to be changes with in energy and the problems with coal, the effect on the environment and the power of the unions at the time. Yet how many feel as I do that the local hard working people were let down by the various governments when they lost their jobs and many moved on as there was nothing in place when the huge changes came? There are huge lessons from the way this industry was treated and its workers.

Yet if ever a place deserves to be remembered and respected, then this place surely does. From a population of never more than 1,200, Glenbuck produced over 50 professional footballers. Six played for Scotland and one became a footballing legend. Its famous team, the Cherrypickers, formed in 1872 and named after a regiment inwhich some of the villagers fought in the Boer War, became the most successful in Ayrshire. A visit to their home ground, Burnside Park, was a testing experience.

Shankly was forged in the Glenbuck football furnace. His father had been a renowned middle-distance runner whose training techniques were adopted by the Cherrypickers. His uncle, Bob Blythe, played for Rangers and his four brothers all pursued successful careers.

Perhaps it was fate that chose him to be Glenbuck’s most famous son for it turned out that he was to be one of their last. In 1931, the one remaining pit in the village closed and, with the pumps shut down, the rising watertable turned Burnside Park into a bog. With no work and no pitch, the Cherrypickers were finished and so too was Glenbuck.

Shankly carried the Glenbuck tradition with him and his management of Liverpool bears all of its hallmarks. His rapport with the fans was unmatched, because he was one of them, as straight and determined as you could find.

When the news broke on the Kop that Glenbuck was to vanish, they decided something had to be done. A delegation, including a Liverpool video-maker, Maurice Alexander, whose cameraman survived a 150ft fall while filming at the site, were sent to talk with Scottish Coal.

They secured permission to erect a memorial on an island of undisturbed ground in the centre of what was Burnside Park. A plaque, paying tribute to Glenbuck and bearing a dedication to Shankly “the legend, the genius, the man” Visit this place it is incredible.

 

2017 Ben Lomond view back home.

From here it is a short journey to my home town of Ayr and a visit to my sisters and then a break a short sleep a lovely meal lemon sole and chips. There were no views of Arran sadly and then a drive through Glasgow to a busy Loch Lomond and the sun came out and the trials of the journey were soon forgotten. Ben Lomond was looking stunning in the evening light and I stopped and enjoyed the views and to back home. The A82 is some road and what a mess for a main road no wonder there are so many accidents on it!

I had planned to stop in and see Aunty Elma at Crainlarich (the patron Saint of RAF Mountain Rescue) but missed her but left some goodies as she is so good to so many of us in Mountain Rescue over the years. I am in trouble as I was supposed to arrive on Saturday I was a day early so sorry Elma, please forgive me.

From Crainlarich it was a great view over the Rannoch Moor and then Glencoe with the rays of sunlight over some of my favourite mountains were exceptional what an end to a day. You have to just stop and watch this show of nature as it displays the changes in light and with these mountains this is stunning beauty.

2017 April –  the light show over Glencoe a thing of beauty.

I arrived at Inchree about 2100 at Onich for my friend’s party on Saturday and I am staying in a chalet at Inchree  and had a great night meeting old pals after a long day. The RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Team were staying at Inchree as well and it was great to see Shane the Team Leader and the troops after they got sorted, we had a catch up.

I wandered off just before midnight pretty tired with the stars out in a setting with the Loch Leven and the mountains a great end to a long day.    What a place to be and at last the long drive was over.

 

Posted in Bothies, Corbetts, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, Munros, Other hills Grahams & Donalds, Rock Climbing, SAR, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Ticks and Lyme disease! A reminder for all – please be aware share and comment?

Ticks

Tick in hand

  • As I was walking in my shorts it reminds me of the annual problem we have with ticks. They love the heather, long grass and ferns and at times during the height of summer I have found several ticks on me after a day out on the hills. I am glad they are now acknowledging as another problem for the hillwalker and mountaineers. It is worth reading the information below and doing a bit of research on these wee beasties that can cause you a lot of trouble.
  • With the arrival of spring, now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks; what they are, where they live, the diseases they can carry, and how to minimise your risk of infection.

  • With the arrival of spring, now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks; what they are, where they live, the diseases they can carry, and how to minimise your risk of infection.
  • Being out in the countryside or even town parks and gardens where wildlife is present may put you and your pets at risk from tick bites?
  • Around 3,000 people in the UK contract Lyme disease (Borreliosis) from a tick bite each year?Recent research suggests that the prevalence of Lyme disease bacteria in the UK tick population is considerably higher than previously thought?

The most important tick prevention behaviour is regular checking of your body, particularly the skin folds, and prompt removal of any ticks found. It is important to try and remove ticks within 24 hours of attaching.

The following measure can also help to prevent tick bites.

  • Use of repellent on skin (DEET) and/or permethrin on clothing
  • Avoiding contact with tall vegetation where ticks are likely to be questing
  • Walk on the paths or centre of tracks where possible rather than in the long grass or verges
  • Wearing light coloured clothing to easily see ticks and brush them off before they attach to skin
  • Tick remover

  • Tuck trousers into socks or shoes to minimise ticks under clothing
  • Regular checks for ticks on clothing
  • Regular use of tick treatment on companion animals and regular checking and removal of ticks from pets. Different tick species are found in different habitats, but the ticks most commonly found on humans or their pets are found in woodland, heathland, upland or moorland pastures and grassland. Ticks are particularly abundant in ecotones, the transition zone between two vegetation communities, such as woodland and meadow or shrub communities, which permit a wider range of potential hosts.

Removing a tick safely

If you are bitten, follow these simple steps to safely remove ticks

  • Removing a tick safely

If you are bitten, follow these simple steps to safely remove ticks

    1. Remove the tick as soon as possible using fine tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool.
    2. Grasp the tick head parts as close to the skin as possible,
    3. Pull upwards firmly and steadily, without jerking or twisting (twisting is not recommended as this increases the chance of the mouthparts breaking off, thereby remaining in the skin and increasing the chance of a secondary localised infection).
    4. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick’s body as this could increase the risk of infection by prompting the tick to regurgitate saliva into the bite wound.
    5. After removal of the tick, apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
    6. Don’t use petroleum jelly, liquid solutions, freeze or burn the tick.
    7. After the tick has been removed, continue to check the bite site over the subsequent month, looking for signs of increased redness or rash.
    8. Consult your doctor if any symptoms develop.

 

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