It is Christmas Eve and my wee operation is now after the New Year ( fingers crossed) I was maybe going to get in today but not happening now so I will have to wait. This is keeping me off the hills just now but such is life and I am not the most patient of people . Thanks for all the help offers of lifts to and from Aberdeen Hospital so I am going to have a low – key Christmas and I cannot believe the offers for Christmas lunch and kindness I have had, great folk out there!
I really miss the hills and the walking but hopes everyone has a great time with family and friends. I went in early to the shops to get some bits and even at 0630 they were busy so much spending going on and you wonder how much is wasted. I am now organised and I may try a wee walk Christmas Day if the body holds up nothing hard just a bit of wind medicine.
My thought is with the people of Glasgow and all those involved in the tragedy a few days ago,they will have a hard time as many others will. Also there will be lots of people working while we enjoy ourselves and my thoughts are those in the Emergency Services who are on Duty over this family time. I spent most of my 37 years out with Mountain Rescue over Christmas and the last few in the ARCC ( Rescue Centre) at Kinloss. I always volunteered for Christmas and it was usually a busy night. Also with the Team in Fort William, Glencoe or Cairngorms we would be out for several days over the period and we would always get a few call -outs latterly for vulnerable people all over the Highlands and sometimes a hill call – out and a late Christmas meal. We were always given great kindness by the local people wherever we stayed. My thoughts are with all those concerned especially the RAF Teams in the UK and especially the RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Team in the Cairngorms and those in the ARCC and the helicopters all over the UK.
2015 will be the last year of the incredible military Sea – Kings all over UK and theIr amazing efforts in SAR over so many years. It will be hard to imagine not seeing these great aircraft and their crews again when they finish in 2015. I have so many memories of past rescues and banter with these special people it will be a hard day when the last Sea King flies over the UK on a SAR Mission.
Despite some the Television programs and the drama these aircraft take some flying, skill and courage in the weather they go out in on land and sea it takes some skill to fly safely in these conditions. These are skills honed over the years and are very special people to many of us. I hope everyone this winter has a safe winter but as you see them fly into some remote corrie or out in a winters day training that you grab the moment and have a few thoughts about what they have achieved over the years. This was a special time in SAR things move on as they must but what a great bunch of men and women and their amazing flying machines.
Next year will be a hard year as the Sea King is phased out and I am glad that many of the crews are going to work for the civilian contract. This will be a great addition to the new aircraft and its crews who will fly a much more and much-needed more modern aircraft for SAR in the UK . I wish them well but the Yellow, Red and at times grey helicopters will be sadly missed by me and many others.
I hope in 2015 to write about my days with the Sea Kings (the Wessex crews will be laughing at that) as everyone knows how much I hated flying!
What great days. Time never stands still
Be Happy and enjoy Christmas!
Be safe this winter.