Looking back it’s a few years since RAF Kinloss MRT moved to RAF Lossiemouth. It was long overdue as all the RAF personnel had already moved on many to RAF Lossiemouth.
The Kinloss team had a huge influence especially in the early days of Mountain Rescue being formed in 1944 during the war. Some the names are above of the Team Leaders.
This was my first Mountain Rescue team as a young lad posted on on 1972. It and many of the Team leaders and members shad a huge influence on my life and I ended up as Team Leader in 1990. Meeting George Bruce my first Team leader was a great experience and when he passed away I was honoured to take a cord at the graveside of a man who like all the others taught me so much. It was a long exciting journey full of great characters. I managed the Munros a few times, a few Big Walks, lots of winter trips including 5 to Canada in winter, trips to the Alps and most mountain Ranges and even the Himalayas 4 times including Everest in 2001. All the time getting great experience and learning that would stand me in good stead.
One of the things I helped do was with Ray Sefton save the Team albums that are a huge part of the history of the team. Ray also digitalised them all and we have a unique history. I also managed with others to collate all the Call – Outs since 1944 it is an incredible history of these early days. I doubt of few other teams have this history.
We have had some great characters (and still have) the National Service days brought some real stars into the team. Ian Clough, Terry Sullivan, Spike Sykes and many others helped push the standard of the day. Of course previous to this was the Beinn Eighe Lancaster Crash in the winter of 1951. We lost a few as the mountains take many pals when pushing their standards or in a simple accident. My worry as a Party Leader was injuring one of my party especially on a call out and as Team Leader I was always glad we were all safe at the end of a big call out. At times especailly when you were young you thought you were invincible but in some of the conditions we were out in we used all our 9 lives.
A huge learning point for the RAF Mountain Rescue and others. Johnny Lees was brought in to raise standards. It’s great to hear the tales from Ray Sefton of these days and early Rescues on the Ben, Glencoe, Cairngorms and Skye to name a few.
Working with Hamish MacInnes over the years gives a great insight into the early days. He and others have so many stories of the characters. Yet its great to see how things have changed, the gear, the communication yet the folk stay the same!
These are great memories but it’s so pleasing to see Lossiemouth MRT still involved in Rescue and playing their part very quietly. I am so proud when I hear how the team is still well thought of by many.
Many ask what are my best memories of these days. The great thing is bringing someone of the hills alive. As a young lad I grew up quickly saw some awful tragedies and still hear from many families even today. I have memories sadly of finding folk who may have been missing for some time in the mountains. This gives the families involved at least a bit of comfort that they have been located. Our responsibility was aircraft crashes and I had the misfortune to go to many that is what we were there for. they had huge impact on my life and others over the years. In all it was a great experience I learned lots and made pals for life, thank you all. I am glad we now understand the effects of the prolonged effect of trauma and that help it there now we took a long time to accept this. For those involved in Mountain Rescue please, please do not forget that without your families support it would not be possible.
Whats your story of the Kinloss Team ?
In the words of a pal “the present day MRS is very different to the one I joined in 1984 but importantly,
“The kit on the outside and the equipment may
have changed but underneath the heart and soul
of the troops remains the same”
Willie MacRitchie Ex Kinloss Team leader.