Yesterday was spent getting the lecture I was doing for Lomond Mountain Rescue Team who were up in the Cairngorms for some winter training. They were out during the day for a windy day in the Cairngorms and I arrived in time for tea at Nethy house bunk house a grand facility at Nethy Bridge. I was looked after very well and a superb meal of chilli and rice it was after a short break time for the chat. I try to make the chats bespoke to who they are given too. The theme was ” I learnt about Mountain Rescue from that” and it was about various incidents on Rescues and in training that I had learned from after nearly 40 years in Rescue. Some may saw it easy with hindsight to look back but many points are so relevant even today. It was an interesting evening, there were many points spoken about over the evening many that occur every time. Many times on big searches basic information is very scant if the missing person does not leave a route giving the teams and search planners a difficult time in trying to find them.
As in the world many things are changing their are plans for one Police Force for Scotland this will change many things but do we need all these Chief Constables and the administration that follows them? We still have to look after each areas unique problems, from the Highlands & Islands to the Borders not an easy task to get it right? It seems that many of the old problems at times rear there heads again and again. It is so important to get the correct resource to the incident. This can mean the correct helicopter for the task with a winch or SARDA and mountain Rescue if the incident requires. I shudder when I hear from down South of helicopter crews from other Agencies not the military having problems with basic footwear on mountains. It took years to get the RAF and Navy Helicopters the correct footwear for mountain tasks, as a Team Leader I got boots for the crews at times and that was 20 years ago. I feel strongly that a joint Control, forgetting Agency rivalries should have been in force to ensure these difficulties do not still occur. Unfortunately many of the decisions are made by those who see no further than their Agency and its importance. Politics play a part in these Agencies and committees and many are far removed from the front line of Rescue they see little of the big picture. It is careers and politics that matter, ring a bell? In the end it is the casualty that matters and the safety of the helicopter crews who are working in dangerous environment. If a helicopter is working in the mountains or a remote area the local team should be informed as this gives the helicopter a bit of support if God forbid it has a problem as has happened in the past.
The photo above shows Rescue 137 in Coire an Sneachda in the Cairngorms when weather forced it down in a rescue, magnificent flying landed the aircraft and the crew were assisted out by Cairngorm MRT. This shows great teamwork by all Agencies,on a wild day. The helicopter was there for several days then flown out to fly again!
Mountain Rescue is in good shape and it is great to meet and speak to see so many old friends. Today the teams are out in the Cairngorms to look for the missing walker who was out staying in Corrour bothy in the Cairngorms a few weeks ago. Despite a huge search he was not discovered. I hope they find him today, as the area is so vast and remote with the information so scant. I pray that he is found so the family can have closure. A sad task and the efforts of all teams are greatly appreciated.