I am trying to put together a talk for Scottish Mountain Rescue at Glenmore Lodge for the 50 th Anniversary of the Committee being formed by some of the stalwarts of the day. It is amazing that they took the time to make mountain Rescue into the system it is now. Hamish and some of the others were in his prime and it was hard when I spoke to him about missing days on the hills in meetings. ( I thing I had in common as much of my time was spent in Meetings as well especially in good weather) Yet in my mind they are a necessary evil ?
Before 1965 there were 27 groups involved in Mountain Rescue from Tourist Board and Youth Hostels pretty incredible. There was also a fear at the time that the Police would take complete control of Mountain Rescue. I appreciate that the Police hold the sole responsibility for missing people but they do not have the resources and experience in some areas to full fill this. A lot of the responsibility is rightly delegated to the Mountain Rescue Teams even to this day. It was the correct balance and better use of resources available and takes constant education to the ensure that the Politicians and Senior Police in positions of authority are aware that this is still an incredible Service produced by volunteers. I hope to speak on this area in my chat and find what the audience feels with the new Single Police Force, which has been running for over a year. I am sure many lessons have been learned?
Up to 1960 there were two Committees!
A quote from that period in 1965 “ Massive Bureaucracy achieving little”
These mountaineers formed the first Committee in 1965
Chairman – Doctor John Berkley, Hamish McInnes, John Watson and Ben Humble.
I served for over 20 years in the Executive Mountain Rescue Committee and have attended so many meetings never an easy time. I even was the Chair and Deputy Chairman for a while I felt the only way to change or improve a system was not to moan but put in the time on the Committee and try to improve it. I learned a lot and when working with National Bodies it is hard but worth it in the end.
I am interested in what is happening today and I am trying to get the audience involved in my chat. I may ask or question in my talk about current concerns:
The new Helicopters ?
Funding from the Government ?
The Single Police Force ? Working with other Agency’s
Sponsorship? – The wonderful assistance by the Order Of St John.
Professionalism – cost of unpaid man women /hours?
Urban/ Rural/ Fast water Rescue/ Searches – Changes in uses of Teams?
Training Of Team Leaders?
The Future/ Technology etc and a few others?
This may be my last lecture on the subject and it is an honour to be invited but discussion is interesting especially on the future.
I will also mention the main supporters of Mountain Rescue _
Without the support of the families Mountain Rescue would not exist.
A huge thanks to the families
How many times have we missed children’s and family birthdays, special occasions? How many worry about us on the mountains on rescues.
A huge thank you for all the support over the years to us all.
Mountain Rescue has moved on so much over the years from these early days . It is easy to sit and criticise which this is not but the way forward as many of the giants in Mountain Rescue in the past did was to talk and discuss and sort it out.
Mountain Rescue is there to help the casualty and that is what must come first whatever the politics?
Bill Rose – “Sounds good heavy. Rescue is only the result of a sucessful search.Be it high lands or low lands its all the same. Working together to return someone to their family. No heros required. Just good safe personal skills, and local knowledge.”
Robert William Kerr – “Good luck with your talk. I do get frustrated with the politics sometimes so leave that to others. The key thing is that if someone is either missing or hurt then it is important to find or treat them as quickly, and as safely, as possible. I am in a MRT to provide that voluntary service to others on the understanding that one day, if I need that help, then hopefully someone else will be there for me. The volunteer nature of Scottish MRT is one of its greatest strengths as individuals take pride in providing a professional level of service in a highly challenging environment – I don’t think that the country could actually afford to pay for the level of service that is delivered by our MRT volunteers (and their families supporting them).”