Yesterday was a busy day on the Blog and Twitter after the announcement on Scottish Mountain Rescue “Split”.

Many thanks to all who read and contributed to my short Blog on the split inside Mountain Rescue that was broken by the media yesterday. I received so many replies on Face Book, Twitter and my blog over 2000 hits on the blog alone. All the replies that came through the Blog are shown on yesterdays piece and are well worth a read.

The hard work of a Rescue.

The hard work of a Rescue.

I was glad that most of the comments were sensible and many see why this has happened within Mountain Rescue. The pressure on some  teams due to the ever-increasing tasks they are asked to do outside their initial remit is relentless for some teams and Mountain Rescue should never be used as cheap labour, a point that was stressed by many.  Most of our  Outside Agencies are having hard times due to financial cuts and I can only see this getting worse and as the population ages we will have in my mind more incidents that fall into the Non Mountaineering category. Mountain Rescue Teams will be called to assist in these and how can you not get involved in local problems in times of crisis. These could be natural disasters,floods or heavy snow where the local services need help. Young children going missing or searches for vulnerable people (it could be your family)  in your area. These things occur and as we know there is so much more pressure on services and people nowadays.   I am sure there is no way that Mountain Rescue would not assist in local incidents as some have commented on.

In the end it will may need the “Wisdom of Solomon” to sort it out  but I do agree it is now time to discuss and decide on the future of Mountain Rescue. Is it time to use and train other  agencies that can help ease the pressure, these may mean big changes for the future? The Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) cope with the different aspects of their tasking and had a split many years ago that works well now!

Maybe it takes decisions like these to let the authorities understand what they have and not to take it for granted?

Thanks again for all the comments and advice and please read some of yesterdays comments that are on the Blog, they make great reading!

Now let’s get this weather sorted and out on the hill as that is what its all about!



About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Yesterday was a busy day on the Blog and Twitter after the announcement on Scottish Mountain Rescue “Split”.

  1. ptsd17 says:

    Any callout not Mountain Rescue related in Scotland where these brave teams attend, be it a missing person, helping a flood hit village or other incident should be recompensed through funding from the Scottish Government. For instance £16m flood relief announced by Scottish government recently, I don’t think anyone would complain about £1m going to those voluntary services who helped out. Not just Mountain Rescue, but organisations like RNLI, Salvation Army etc.
    It used to be the Armed Forces that were taken advantage of for free labour. I remember delivering sandbags to Forres in my RAF number 2’s, no waterproofs or even gloves, but I just got on and done it for the people of Forres. It still sad to see on the news all the agencies in a flood wearing full dry suits, helmets, lifejackets etc then the army are called in to assist wearing combats and boots that don’t keep the water out, the only additional equipment they get if lucky is a hi-viz vest.
    We have these emergency teams setup and ready in the UK, ready to deploy at a minutes notice to a disaster zone around the world. Maybe it’s time we had something similar locally and nationally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ian Rideout says:

    Interesting debate and views expressed from passionate people whose commitment and dedication to saving lives knows no bounds. However, our world is changing as are the relationships with the statutory agencies (Police Scotland and Scottish Government) who have the responsibility for missing person search & rescue and fund it.

    It is not just about the dreaded funding formula for MR teams, heralded at the time as a real breakthrough in achieving ring fenced revenue funding. Small though it may have been in comparison with the costs of running MR teams, it has been the envy of many other small charities struggling to cover their operating costs. Actually what has been needed for some time is a much more strategic approach to the co-ordination, representation and governance of search and rescue in Scotland of which mountain rescue (by nature of our topography) plays a huge part. MRCofS, Scottish Mountain Rescue or whatever name it chooses to be known by, has never been anything other than a association of individually constituted charities each with their own voice and views. It is not a federation or governing body but a membership organisation with limited lobbying, fundraising or advocacy capability.

    In my view, change has been long overdue and a new body needs to be created to reflect the needs of the times, effectively constituted, properly funded and with a professional paid team to manage its affairs. Frankly, this is the case with all major rescue charities and very effective they have become both in terms of delivery and credibility with the statutory agencies. They have not sold out to any government but remained independent. These organisations have moved with the times, reflected the changes in our weather patterns and society, been innovative and seized opportunities when they have arisen. Urban search, flood response and inland water search & rescue; developing new techniques and equipment which often become the envy of the statutory emergency services as centralised procurement cannot provide such assets. You only have to look at the voluntary organisations at the forefront of the response to the recent flooding across the UK. And, yes there are mechanisms for these organisations to be reimbursed in the aftermath of a declared major incident.

    We need a voluntary search and rescue provision in Scotland, we need a voluntary mountain rescue provision in Scotland, Are the skills required for both similar? Can they all be a part of a larger single organisation? Do we need as many individual charitable mountain rescue/search and rescue organisations? With 23,000 charities in Scotland and only 617 of them socially enterprising in terms of income generation, the opportunities for fundraising become increasingly competitive (and a huge challenge for the remotely based organisations). No charity can rely on their revenue costs being covered through grant income and with legislative changes looming, such grants will come with increasing reporting requirements.

    With so much debate ensuing and it being played out in the media, now must be the time to take positive action to create a new future for the benefit of all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve and Miller says:

    Joint statement by Miller Harris, spokesperson for Glencoe, Lochaber and Cairngorm MRTs (GLC) and member of Lochaber MRT and Steve Penny, Acting-Chair SMR and member of Tweed Valley MRT –
    There has been considerable press and social media cover about the decision of Glencoe, Cairngorm and Lochaber MRT’s (GLC) to resign their voting membership of Scottish Mountain Rescue. We both feel that while it is healthy to debate these issues, some of the comments are misinformed and not representative of the position or views of the respective parties within SMR.
    Whilst our geographic areas and operational demands are different across Scotland, we all have one thing in common, which is that we are volunteers and as volunteers, we probably have more in common than our differences.
    The teams that collectively deliver mountain rescue and search and rescue services across Scotland can deploy personnel into every part of the country and those in need can be comforted in the knowledge that they will receive a world class service that will cost them nothing.
    The primary purpose of around 1000 volunteers, currently in SMR, is to offer a wide range of skills that are appropriate to their own local area. Whatever happens in respect of the administration of the organisation, none of that will change …. every team has been set up and runs as its own body and most have done so for around 50 years.
    The current discussions have largely been imposed on us all as volunteers by the pressures created by outside influences. We have seen significant changes which have put considerable pressures on rescue teams and the demands on volunteers’ time. This has resulted in increased expectations on what volunteers will contribute in support of reduced resources in the non-voluntary sector. Decisions are being made at a strategic level which ultimately impact on operational expectations of volunteers.
    The national body, now called Scottish Mountain Rescue (a charity in its own right), strives to represent all teams. The organisation has been around for 50 years and no-one would ever deny that any organisation with that history must review and refresh to meet the needs of an ever changing operational landscape. So, yes, GLC feel that the national body has lost focus from their point of view and that needs to be resolved. It is healthy that teams can feel that they can question and challenge an organisation that exists to help them deliver at the sharp end. We must accept that Scottish Mountain Rescue (the charity) is entering a period of change, however, Scottish mountain rescue (the activity) as delivered by the teams across Scotland will continue as it has always done.
    We must stress that no teams have actually “left” SMR and there is no “split”. GLC would still wish to be affiliated to SMR and will continue to support the wider mountain rescue community in whatever way they can. Where appropriate we believe that the current healthy exchange of skills to facilitate training and information exchanges within the organisation will continue irrespective of the outcome of current discussions.
    So, if you are unfortunate enough to need to call on the services of a mountain rescue team anywhere in Scotland then don’t worry …. it’s very much business as normal and we will drop what we are doing, grab the packs and head out to help you! We would hope that we can be allowed to continue our work without the need to make further comment at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

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