Today after watching the rugby I am heading to Newtonmore for the Annual Scottish Mountain Rescue Reunion. There will be over 100 at the Reunion which is held at the Highlander Hotel.
It’s a great gathering and the Current Lossiemouth Team usually attend. Even better is that many of the wives and partners will be there. They have supported the teams over the years. It’s hard to think that in the early days before many had phones the team would be off on a call – out and often the families did not know where they were.
The RAF teams were at the forefront of Mountain Rescue and when you look through some of the incidents before many of the civilian teams were set up it was a different world. Imagine no helicopter support, 5 hour journey to Skye. No bridge at Glencoe or Inverness or Kylesku. Epic drives basic gear poor communications and no GPS or mobile phones. These were different days, we have lost many of our early members gone to the big Munro in the Sky. Yet many are still about. I love to here the stories and try to document them. In these early days they dealt with some trauma without any help and yet when many still talk about the big incidents you can see the effect on them and their families.
I enjoy hearing from the long suffering wife’s whose husbands were away 3 weekends a month plus call – outs they are the real heroes. We rarely mention this.
Things have changed and yet the ethos is still the same. The RAF Lossiemouth MRT are still in action and a great asset to Mountain Rescue. We have many ladies in the team and they have proved a huge asset over the years.
It was sad to lose the Military helicopters but the Civilian contract is working well and they will be giving a talk at the Re Union.
As always the tales will get longer and the snow will be deeper the climbs harder as the night goes on. Many only spent a few years in the teams yet the companionship changed there lives. Other spent over 30 years in various teams. Yet we are all the same it was how you coped in the hills that mattered not your rank. There were some great characters about it was a simpler world and we had leaders who all different shaped your life. The word “Team Leader”is now so well used in many professions.
I will meet many of whom were heroes to me. They taught you so much , gave you a hard time when needed and tried to ensure your training kept you safe when few would venture into the hills in the worst of weathers. Many like me are getting on in life but for a few hours we will be back on the hills fit as a fiddle climbing and having adventures. These were incredible days I was so lucky to be part of it. Even the long carries with stretchers through the night the scary helicopter flights were all part of my life. Yet you belonged to a superb group of people who gave a lot back to society and still do.
Thank you all for shaping my life and to the families who gave us so much support we can never repay you. To all the team members what great days and to the current RAF MRT be safe and enjoy every day. These are some of the best days of your lives.
“The kit on the outside and the equipment may have changed.
Underneath the heart and soul of the troops remains the same.”
W.MacRitchie MBE RAF MRT Warrant Officer.
A huge thanks to Ray Sefton who had run the reunions for years and had stepped down. Thank you for all your hard work. To Brent and Gus who are taking over I am sure it will all go well.
To many troops please have a look and maybe come along it’s the same date every year.
The first weekend in Nov and at the Highlander Hotel in Newtonmore. Let’s get some of the beer troops there.