I went representing the Moray Mountaineering Club and got a lift from Aviemore with a few friends. It was a good journey down and my first trip over the new bridge spectacular then in the famous trams and then a 15 minute walk through a busy Edinburgh to the Scottish Parliament. It is amazing to see so many buses and infrastructure in one place a different world from up in the far North.
It was an interesting evening in an incredible building, there were the usual 30 minutes of formal chat to open with. I enjoyed it all but the last final piece by the Aberdeen Team Leader which went into the being in Mountain Rescue and the effect on the family. That was refreshing and good to see what the family support all the teams have and now that folk speak about the support they receive. All organisations spoke well and it was a well attended event of many who love the mountains. It was good to see that a lot is happening not just in Mountain Rescue but in mountain training, education and safety. I have always thought that Mountain Rescue is huge part but mountain safety and education is a massive area that we can do better at given the resources?
Then it was time to meet many of the organisations who had information available on what they do. There was a some interesting discussions and it gave those who make the decisions in Scotland for us a better insight into what is going on.
It was a reminder that Mountaineering must be united in pushing forward new ideas and the threats that are about to a sport we love and enjoy. Most mountaineers are very individual people and many are wary of formal organisations. It may be that we do not agree on everything and each have our individual views but being united helps get our point across to those who govern. It is getting a good balance that matters and reminding that though many of the big Mountaineering organisations are funded by the Government those in key positions are their eyes and ears and must speak out when they see the need. To be fair there was some plan speaking at times in the informal groups and I am sure that some good ideas and even worries were passed on?I met many old pals and a few new ones a lot of great things going on and for a small nation we have much to be proud of. Many had travelled from far and near and it was 0100 when I got home, was it worth while? In my mind without a doubt and good to have a few MSP’s who are looking after our interests. It is so important that they are briefed properly on the issues that are relevant and not side-stepped or put in the “all to difficult tray”. I was part of helping getting funding from the Scottish Government many years for Mountain Rescue and sponsorship from the Order of St John when I was the Chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue. It was a long process that many got involved in and I still feel is well worth the effort. Change is never easy and things must move on and is good to see the huge improvements nowadays. It is great to see where things have moved on and help improve the Mountain Rescue and Mountain Safety initiatives. We now have The Scottish Avalanche Service, Mountaineering Scotland a tremendous National Centre, so much good training education is available and so many organisations who support them. There are so many volunteers who give their time for no financial payment and in these days that is incredible. This financial support is much appreciated and never taken for granted and without a doubt has been so beneficial to Mountaineering in Scotland and is the envy of other nations. There were also several Mountaineering companies who support the teams and organisations in many ways!
The journey home was one of may stories sorry for that but we kept Shaun awake and we were soon in Aviemore. The last few miles over the Dava Moor were good with a clear sky and a stop to take it all in. In all an interesting day some seeds may have been sown, we will wait and see but thanks to the Scottish Government and those who organised it.