In Edinburgh to give a talk to the Scottish Continuity Resilient Scotland Conference.

I was on the radio a few months ago talking to Louise White “Out for the Weekend” and someone heard it involved with a conference being run in Edinburgh in the RBS HQ tomorrow the 23 rd of Feb. I was asked to talk about “Leadership in a Crisis”. I thought about it for a while but decided I have something to bring to the conference and it hopefully will be an interesting chat? Just my luck the weather has gone mad so we will see what happens as I leave this morning?


I was very lucky I was taught and mentored by some incredible people in my time in the RAF Mountain Rescue. The Modern word “Team leader” has been used by the RAF Rescue Teams since the war and what an influence they had on me. I widely read about the history in the great book Two Star Red which tells of the early years of Mountain Rescue. When I joined in 1972 I was looked after by George Bruce my first Team Leader who was a magic person. He could communicate at all levels and had the “Bill Shankly” touch. Various others left there mark and added to my character, Ray Sefton,Pete MacGowan, Alaister Haveron, Tom Taylor, Don Shanks and many others. I met some incredible people in the civilian Teams Hamish MacInnes, Peter Cliff and so many others from every aspect of Rescue and leadership. In most areas we knew the Police, Coastguards  through incidents and training and the Land owners and gamekeeper and when the need arose we had Base Camps all over Scotland.  This was an incredible help to know the local Police the characters in the time of a disaster or tragedy. We learned from each other and I was constantly learning and given huge responsibility as we all were at an early age. Rank was not the main thing it was your experience your capabilities and in the military that was not and easy line at times. for those in high rank?


I was also privileged to be chosen and complete a Team Leaders Course learning much from the current Team Leaders. When I got my Team at RAF Leuchars I had 16 years of apprenticeship and even then it took a while for me to settle and learn some political skills. I was guided by good people and some great officers who shielded me from danger at time. Thank God for that and those who kept me in line but we had some teams and people. We dealt with many incidents not just tragedies in the mountains and plane crashes but helped in flood relief, forest fires and snow emergencies. At one time there were 16 helicopters in Inverness and we were there for a week helping with the emergency? Things have changed dramatically but I still feel you can learn form the past and in a rural situation away from the cities where help can be hours away and longer in a remote area in bad weather, those in the area will be critical. We worked hard with the SAR Helicopters over the years and we had a bond that was and is unique.

During Lockerbie we were lucky we had a great Boss Bill Gault who was the conduct between those in authority and those in the front line. He knew what we could do and let us get on with it and kept the pressure away till things settled down. Bill trusted us, he knew us all personally  and took responsibility for what we did and advised us when necessary. Everyone there had a job and did it, all took responsibility and never let us down. It was not really Leadership but great training,communications, the experience of real incidents and a trust in each other and having guidance from those around you when needed.  We were also self-reliant for 48 hours and could go anywhere at an hours notice. How many organisations can say that?

Yes maybe I have something to pass on as I feel that many of the lessons from the past are so easily forgotten? I also think that the efforts of Mountain Rescue and the people in it are a resource taken for granted at times, hopefully it will go well. Wish me well on the journey down.

The Scottish Continuity Resilient Scotland Conference is widely regarded as Scotland’s leading conference that brings Business Continuity and Resilience practitioners together providing an opportunity to gain valuable education, training and best practice to assist, organise, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies and disasters. 

We continue our theme of ‘Our resilience is your resilience’ which will run to 2018.  We promise a topical and interesting programme, providing excellent value for money.  The current line-up includes the following speakers with other speakers and topics confirmed in the coming weeks –

  • Scottish Continuity is delighted to welcome John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills who will officially open the conference and address the delegates.
  • Headline Sponsor – Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) – Chris Butler, Principal Cyber & Information Security Consultant,    will talk about “Risk & Resilience in 2017”.  Chris’s presentation will include the current risks to businesses; the current threat landscape; the importance of resilience, including cyber resilience and how it is more than just cyber security as well has what companies need to do to become and stay resilient.
  • George Fraser, Lead, Resilience Strategic Delivery, Royal Bank of Scotland will offer a brief history of technology resilience and why organisations must adapt to new technology paradigms.
  • David “Heavy” Whalley MBE, Mountaineer and ex-RAF Team Leader reveals all about lessons learned around” Leadership in a Crisis – how do you prepare your teams for the worst”.  A very interesting presentation is in store from a very talented and experienced professional.
  • Allan Everington, Managing Director of Dacoll Ltd shall outline the experience of an organisation’s continued journey to remain ever more resilient.  Why change at all? Where to start? Why what all the books say is probably true.  Hearts and minds are critical.  What the main challenges are / reaching the goal and keeping the momentum.
  • Chris Tunnah, Vice-Chair of Scottish Continuity will explain “What Is Next for Scottish Continuity?”
  • Keith McDevitt, Cyber Resilience Integrator with the Scottish Government and Graham Bye, CiSP (Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership) Co-ordinator for Scotland will outline the changing landscape in the UK on the engagement of cyber knowledge with the introduction of the National Cyber Security Centre and will specifically look at the business benefits of Cyber Essentials and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP).
  • Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Public Policy, NHS Lothian will speak about “What are the features of a resilient population”
  • Resilient people
  • Resilient pathways
  • Resilient procedures
  • Resilient partnerships
  • Resilient places

How can we create this together? What are the challenges we need to work on?

  • Tony Swift, Business Resilience & Corporate Security, AXA Insurance  demonstrates “The Transition to Resilience’.  With so many definitions of what resilience is Tony’s presentation will take you through the AXA journey moving from the traditional business continuity programme into a more resilience focused world.
  • Colin Edgar, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Glasgow Life – drawing on Glasgow’s experience of the Clutha and Queen Street tragedies we’ll explore how organisations respond to high-profile tragedy, how that response impacts on the public perception of that organisation, and how that change in public perception impacts the organisation’s ability to act in future.

As always, there will be exhibition stands to visit at coffee and lunch breaks and an opportunity to talk to suppliers.  Sponsorship and marketing opportunities exist for suppliers to promote their products and services to the attendees. Come along and network with your peers, make new friends and share experiences. Resilient Scotland Conference 2017 will afford you the opportunity of hearing about current and relevant industry practices; exposure to new technology and networking with like-minded peers, whilst showing an excellent ROI to your organisations.


About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, Lectures, Mountain rescue, Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In Edinburgh to give a talk to the Scottish Continuity Resilient Scotland Conference.

  1. Sandra Riddell says:

    Thanks Heavy, your talk was tremendous and gave delegates real food for thought. On a personal note – I’ll be trying to put your key points into practice – lots of practice! cheers Sandra Riddell, Board Member of the Scottish Continuity Group

    Liked by 1 person

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