I was down at Newtonmore at the Highland Hotel for the Annual Mountain Rescue – union I was going to miss this one but a few old pals convinced me to go and it was great seeing so many of them. Both these teams are now gone Kinloss and Leuchars the RAF Mountain Rescue has only one team in Scotland at RAF Lossiemouth in Morayshire, still going well despite the Defence cuts.
The Re Union dinner is on the Saturday night but many make a weekend of it and have a few days in the Hotel and on the hills and walks. It is great to see so many still on the hills despite their age, many tying to complete these illusive Munros. The evening started with a lecture and this was done by Alaister Haveron on the Lochnagar Crater Memorial.
Members of the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Association (RAFMRA) set themselves an ambitious project to commemorate all combatants of the First World War that will involve linking Lochnagar Mountain in Scotland, to the Lochnagar Crater on the Somme. The plan which is now well underway involves taking a granite boulder from the Mountain, with permission from the royal estate at Balmoral, cut it to shape, inscribe it, and then, after travelling with it to the Lochnagar Crater site, carry it to its final resting place on the Crater rim.The RAF Mountain Rescue Association Working Party on the 6th June 15 laying the memorial stone at the Lochnagar Crater on the Somme, Nr. La Boisselle. Brian Canfer, Has Oldham, Paul Duckworth & Alister Haveron. A great job well done all.
A video of the story of RAF Mountain Rescue Association Lochnagar Memorial Stone at the Crater can be found at https://youtu.be/BVtJonDpgWY . FoL
After that Ray Sefton gave another chat on ” The way it was” a superb history on the RAF Mountain Rescue in Scotland from the early days of National Service to the late 90’s. It was a fantastic tale of winter camping no bothies then, huge Call -outs on the Ben and Glencoe and many other area with local climbers and climbing clubs. The tragic call -outs and the huge changes in gear, when nailed boots were the norm and crampons were never used. The many characters many who were on National Service and the hard climbing done at the time with primitive gear. Rock climbing using wheel nuts as protection, ropes breaking and ice axes, yet what a bunch of people. Great nights in the local pubs and all night dances, hearts broken and many friendships and even marriages made. It was a wonderful chat and a great insight into the past.
After a great meal we had an update from the RAF Lossiemouth MRT by the Team Leader Shane Rousell. It was great to hear that the team is going well despite the Defence Cuts. Shane spoke of the changes yet the team is still the same people, all doing their bit. The team has been involved in many call – outs all over Scotland and it made me very proud to see the dedication and RAF Mountain Rescue still out there.
I left them all to it after a great meal as I was pretty tired, the tales were going on most of the night for many but it was great to see so many still enjoying a huge part of what was and is their lives. We must not forget the efforts by all concerned and despite the huge changes.
“The kit on the outside may have changed but underneath the heart and soul of the team remains the same. ”
It is worth having a look at the RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Facebook page.