As a Mountain Rescue Team Leader the worst thing that could happen is a Team member being badly injured or killed. I will admit it worried me a lot during my years as Team Leader and as a Party Leader. Call – outs were always when it could be so easy to step over the line between safety and danger and many of the times we were out I would not have been there by choice.
To operate in these conditions you have to train hard and at times push the boat out so that when the call – out comes you are ready for most things that nature can throw at you! This was often in the RAF Teams as we had some very young and inexperienced Team members on long hard days in poor weather and no matter how experienced you are these were testing times. In the end God willing if you work hard you had a strong team that could cope with some of the wildest conditions imagined. If you add to that a huge area of the whole of the North of Scotland that could be “your patch” then you have to learn as much as you can of all the mountain areas. You do not in the RAF have a local area like most civilian teams that you know intimately but hopefully with hard training and a steady knowledge of most mountain areas built up over the years.
I had a few near misses and learned so much from them as did many of others. Sadly the RAF Kinloss Team now disbanded and at RAF Lossiemouth lost a Team member in a fall whilst rock climbing in August 1956 in Garbh Beinn in Ardgour. It was a sad day for the team and one can only imagine what effect it had one the family of young Allan Grout who was killed.
Garbh Bheinn is an exceptionally fine mountain, well seen across Loch Linnhe from North Ballachulish. It has fine rock scenery and some classic climbs as well as being a superb viewpoint.
Today myself and Dan Carrol another Ex – Kinloss Team Leader will visit Ardgour and Garbh Bheinn and pay our respects 60 years on.
It will be an early start for us and hopefully the weather will hold in this wild wonderful part of Scotland that we plan to visit.