Looking back – on Cycle to Syracuse and looking after your Mental Health.

This time last year I was a small part of the team that completed the Cycle to Syracuse an incredible trip to the USA. This was to commemorate the Lockerbie Tragedy on its 30 th anniversary. The cycle ended at Syracuse University where sadly 35 Students were killed in the crash . Every year they have a wonderful poignant ceremony at the University.

I have met so many relatives from Mountaineering tragedies and aircraft crashes over the years. Yet during that week in the USA where the team cycled 600 miles in 7 days and we met so many relatives from the tragedy. We met many relatives on the road and in their homes all had a story to tell about young lives lost in their prime. All were heartbreaking tales that could not be rushed and yet their was love and forgiveness in their hearts.

I found it very hard coping with this but the love, kindness and care we received was heartwarming and heart breaking at the same time.

The families were so pleased to see us and I still cannot believe the support we received.

Incredible meetings with relatives.

I struggled for years after Lockerbie and other disasters. It effected my health and well being .

Not because I am a weak person but we all handle tragedy differently. Lockerbie was only a part of the trauma I was involved in my life. Apart from the many mountain incidents I was involved in some horrific aircraft incidents like the Chinook on the Mull of Kintyre where 29 died.

As the memories come up this week in photos it takes you back to an incredible trip and I thank the team and so many friends for their support.

These next few months will be as always hard yet I receive wonderful words from many of who are now friends we met on our trip.

Every year I get contact from families who many years later want to visit where they lost a loved one. It can be hard but it’s all part of the healing process for the family and helps me as well.

Many folk say why do you do it, you do not need the hurt and heartbreak. Yet to me it so good to be able to help and tell often the hidden story of a hard rescue or recovery and the people involved. Our families bore the brunt of a hard incident on these days we hardly spoke about what we did. It is so much better nowadays. We must keep going we are only in the early days of accepting that we may have problems.

Lockerbie Window of Rememberance .

It’s sad that a lot of history call out information was lost when teams when to to computers for there Stats. It seems sad that the Police have very few records of call outs going back to the early days. Were they destroyed?

I have a full history of the RAF Kinloss Team that runs from 1944 – 2012 to its closure. It is a wealth of history of Rescues all over Scotland. Sadly this is the only RAF Rescue team to still have a full history. It is amazing that they never kept this information. The only way I kept it was that we kept the originals that were binned and Retyped them out. Many helped with this task but they have been so useful. This has been down over the years in wthe Scottish Mountaineering Club Journals. They maintained a basic record of incidents since the early days of recording incidents. They hold incredible information much that is still relevant for safety and Stats.

I would be interested to find out how many teams have a complete record of incidents. This week I am trying to trace some information on a call out for relatives. This is the 4th request this year and I have managed to help all of them. One incident was 40 years ago.

So as the memories come back just now I remember the good we did on our trip. How we met so many folk and told them just a little of what our folks did. Most were unpaid volunteers from many Agencies some who still suffer today.

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 Articles, Cycling, Family, Friends, Lockerbie, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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