RAF Kinloss MRT 1960 – 1965 “The start of the Golden age of SAR ?”

As I write this I am down at the RAF Scotland Reunion in Newtonmore with over 100 ex members of the Scottish RAF Teams. There is fresh snow an the hills and that prolific climber Andy Nisbet has climbed one of the first routes of the winter in the Cairngorms. The Cairngorm MRT have been out on two rescues on on the Plateau  one for two walkers caught out in the first blizzard of the winter. Now days there is great Rescue cover but back in the early 1960’s things were a bit more basic.

The dates that the Civilian Teams were formed many in the 60,s before that locals, climbing clubs and the Police bore the brunt of rescues along with the RAF MRT.


Early dates of the formation of Mountain Rescue in Scotland.

Early dates of the formation of Mountain Rescue in Scotland.

“The kit on the outside and the equipment may have changed.
Underneath the heart and soul of the teams remains the same”

These were busy times for the teams and many Civilian Teams became recognise during the 60’s as you can see from the list above. As I said in a previous blog the locals in many areas were now forming  teams and the need was growing.   There were more and more people out on the hills and the transport and gear was improving so with the increase in people out the incidents increased.  Various bits of gear like 500 foot ropes were developed for rescues and it was the start of the bespoke stretcher. The climbing gear had improved climbing in summer and winter became popular, crampons and vibram soles on boots became common and more and more enjoyed the benefits of being out in the winter.    First aid gear improved and many areas had first aid posts and stretchers in the mountain areas. There were some huge call outs in this period and delve into my other blog and find the tale of the voodoo aircraft in Argour  and so many incidents listed here.

RAF Kinloss MRT INCIDENTS 1960 – 1965

104-1/60 01/01/60 Ben Nevis


Flashing light observed in Red Burn area.  Climber with minor injuries stretchered off.
105-2/60 02/01/60 Ben Nevis


Fallen climber evacuated from Gardyloo Gully.  Died later at CIC hut.
106-3/60 4-5/01/60 Kintail Search for missing hill walker.  Not found due to heavy snowfalls. Found in Sept 1962 in Glean Fhada- Fatal
107-4/60 10/04/60 Cairngorms Search for missing hill walker. Turned up safe and well.  Second separate search followed requiring two-day search.  Search eventually located the bodies of two missing walkers.  2 fatal 12 alive.  Tech
108-5/60 14/04/60 Dalmally Aircraft crash.  1 fatal.
109-6/60 06/06/60 Isle of Skye

Sgurr Dubh Mor

Three climbers fell in TD Gap.  1 fatal and 2 with minor injuries.  500ft ropes used for lower.
110-7/60 13/06/60 Tomintoul Area Police requested help with the removal of a body from a difficult location.  Second body from incident 4/60. Tech
111-8/60 31/06/60 Isle of Skye

Sgurr an Fheadain

Fallen climber with fractured leg recovered to road.
112-9/60 29-30/08/60 Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge

Great Tower


1 crag fast climber on Tower Ridge plus the recovery of his dead partner.  Tech
113-10/60 31/08/60


Plockton Search for suspect missing aircraft.  Nothing found.  Wreckage of missing Sea Venom washed up some time later in the Moray Firth.
114-11/60 05/10/60 An Teallach


Recovery of the body of a retired Royal Navy officer from a gully.  The area knowledge of a local keeper was of great assistance. Tech
115-12/60 10/11/60 Ben Alder Missing party of schoolboys.  Team turned back en route.  Found safe and well.



1960-An-Teallach-carry-off, lots of manpower needed, 

Ser No Date Location Incident
116-1/61 20/03/61 Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge

2 missing climbers turned up safe and well.
117-2/61 17/07/61 Glen Einich

Sgoran Dubh Mor

Missing climber.  Body found below slabs of No 3 Buttress.  Long carry out.
118-3/61 01/08/61 Ben Nevis

North Castle Gully 41/161721

Injured climber evacuated on stretcher.
119-4/61 13/09/61 Loch Quoich area 2 missing women turned up safe and well at Glen Carnach.
120-5/61 16/12/61 Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge

2 benighted climbers.  Spotted next day with other climbers.  Search called off.
121-6/61 31/12/61-01/01/62 Cairngorms


4 missing climbers.  2 walked out and 2 carried out on stretcher.  The fell about 200ft when the rope slipped as they were being lowered down The Vent.  Morphine administered.




Ser No Date Location Incident


1/01/63 Skye – Sgurr Dubh Mor 3 climbers killed in fall in remote area of ridge. Big account in Hamish MacInnes Book “Callout” Very technical rescue in winter by Team.
138-1/63 13/02/63 Stob Ban

Easy Gully


Member of RAF MRT Winter Course injured whilst attempting sitting glissade when outside of crampon caught on a hard patch of snow.  Sustained fracture to Tibia and Fibula.
139-2/62 18/02/63 Glen Affric Missing naval party of 6.  Turned up safe and well.
139-3/63 3-5/03/63 Ben Nevis

NE Buttress


2 climbers benighted.  500ft abseil to climbers.  Excellent effort.
140-5/63 13/04/63 Cairngorms


Missing walker found safe and well at Loch Avon.  Escorted out by Burghead Outward Bound school.
141-6/63 12-14/06/63 Feughside


Vulcan crash.  5 fatal.
142-7/63 04/08/63 Isle of Skye Injured climber on Cuillin Ridge
143-8/63 16-17/08/63 Ben Nevis


Tourist killed by fall from near top of NE Buttress.
144-9/63 22/08/63 Isle of Skye

Stron na Ciche

1 injured climber and his crag fast second recovered.
145-10/63 07/09/63 Ben Nevis


3 exhausted Ben Nevis race runners.
146-11/63 15/09/63 Glen Nevis Collapsed Army Private evacuated.
147-12/63 23-24/09/63 Liathach Recovery of a hill walker’s body from a gully near Choire Dhuibh Bhig.  Difficult call out.
148-13/63 23/12/63 Glen Carron Missing walker turned up safe and well near Glen Uaig.
149-14/63 23/12/63 Ben Nevis

Gardyloo Gully


2 injured climbers caught in a 1000ft avalanche.  Morphia administered.
Cameron's Barn Ben Nevis

Cameron’s Barn Ben Nevis

Ser No Date Location


150-1/64 10-18/01/64 Culloden Moor Shackleton Mk 111 crash.  Crew Survived.  On board was OC MRT Flt Lt Dave Pierce.  The team were base at Bogroy and assisted in the recovery of an engine that fell into the Beaully Firth.
151-2/64 9-10/02/64 Glen Avon 2 missing walkers turned up safe and well at the top chairlift station.  No ice axes-shoes.
152-3/64 16-17/02/64 Glencoe 1 injured walker.  Slipped descending from Bidean nam Bian into Lost Valley.  No crampons.
153-4/64 23-24/02/64 Ben Nevis


2 Royal Navy walkers killed.  1 injured in gully between Allt Coire Eoghainn and Allt Coire Giubhsachan
154-5/64 16/03/64 Coireyairlich Pass Party of missing Cranwell cadets turned up safe and well at their camp in Laggan.
155-6/64 28/03/64 Ben Nevis

No. 3 Gully


Climber fell and was stretchered off.
156-7/64 29/03/64 Ben Nevis

West face of Carn Dearg


Fallen climber.
157-8/64 30/03/64 Cairngorms


Skier with broken leg evacuated from the head wall of Coire na Ciste.  Morphia administered.
158-9/64 7-16 May Fort William area USAF F101 Voodoo aircraft crash on the summit of Meall Odhar.  Fatal. This was a huge call -out in its day.
159-10/64 10/05/64 Cairngorms 2 overdue hill walkers Ben MacDui.
160-11/64 07/09/64 Ross-shire Hill walker killed on Mam Sodhail.
161-12/64 22/12/64 Cairngorms 2 lost skiers turned up safe and well at Bynack Stables.
Ser No Date Location


162-1/65 13-14/02/65 Cairngorms


1 missing skier found safe and well at top ski tow shelter.
163-2/65 14/02/65 Cairngorms 1 missing walker, and RAF Corporal, turned up safe and well after spending the night in a shelter in Strath Nethy.
164-3/65 28/02/65-


Lochnagar Search for benighted missing climber.  Turned up safe at the roadside on 1 March suffering exposure and frostbite.
165-4/65 19-20/03/65 Cairngorms 3 missing climbers, from Glenmore Lodge, doing the Vent were forced to spend the night in the St Valery hut due to bad weather.  Turned up safe and well at the White Lady Shieling.
166-5/65 08/04/65 Beaully Sea Hawk aircraft crash at Loch nam Bollach.  Pilot ejected.
167-6/65 18-19/04/65 Ben Nevis

Gardyloo Gully


2 climbers fell 1000ft.
168-7/65 30/05/65-


Ben Nevis

Rogues Rib


Climber sustained fatal fall.
169-8/65 07/06/65 Isle of Skye 3 climbers benighted in West Central Gully.
170-9/65 8-9/06/65 Struie Moor Recovery of live ammunition from abandoned aircraft wreckage.
171-10/65 25/06/65 Buccaneer aircraft crash. 2 fatal.
172-11/65 29/06/65 Tarbet Ness Rescue of Light House keeper who had fallen from a low cliff.
173-12/65 05/07/65 Mull of Kintyre Search for a missing walker, an RAF Corporal.  He turned up safe and well at Mull Light House.
174-13/65 2-3/08/65 Isle of Eigg Search for a missing girl.  She was found at the foot of a 40ft cliff with head, shoulder and rib injuries.
175-14/65 4-5/09/65 Cairngorms Search for a missing walker who was found descending into the Lairig Ghru.
176-15/65 12/09/65 Bheinn a Chlachair Call to a sick mountaineer in a Coire on the SE side of Beinn a Chlachair.
177-16/65 27/09/65 Aonach Dubh


Recovery of dead climber who fell whilst descending from Ossians Cave.  Lowered off. See” Callout” H MacInnes
178-17/65 13-16/10/65 The Quirang Search for missing walker who was located dead below the cliffs of the Quirang.
179-18/65 29/11/65 Troop Head


2 Civilians killed whilst rabbiting on cliff tops.
180-19/65 9-18/12/65 Moray Firth Search for Shackleton aircraft crash.
181-20/65 27/12/65 Corpach Search for missing youth.  Turned up safe at Spean Bridge.
182-21/65 27-29/12/65 Cairngorms Search for missing climber in Northern Corries after companion’s body was found in Coire a t-Sneachda.  Further search carried out on 2nd January.
183-22/65 31/12/65 Ben Nevis


3 climbers benighted on summit.
A gradual descent of the stretcher party, with the 'victim', their NCO Sgt Jones. The sledge runners of the stretcher are portable and quickly detached. Aberdeen Journals - 1952

A gradual descent of the stretcher party, with the ‘victim’, their NCO Sgt Jones. The sledge runners of the stretcher are portable and quickly detached.

As you can see the RAF Kinloss Team was all over Scotland assisting the Police and the many local teams. The honey pot areas were developing like Ben Nevis, Glencoe and the Cairngorms but the team was in many areas giving assistance. Many involved long drives still on basic roads before they got to an incident even Ben Nevis was a 2 hour drive away at times the team was away for many days on along search.  Skye could be a 4- 5 hour drive  away at times in awful weather or after a days work. These were the days before mobile phones and many families had limited contacted with their loved ones when the team was in remoter areas.

Hard days indeed.


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 Aircraft incidents, Articles, Avalanche info, Bothies, Equipment, Gear, History, medical, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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