Big Characters in Mountain Rescue.

I was so lucky travelling all over Scotland meeting so many characters from all Mountain Rescue Teams. It was great to meet so many characters especially as a young lad. Many like Hamish McInnes, Big Ian Nicholson, Walter and Willie Elliot from Glencoe were already well known mountaineers and characters. Yet on Call outs we all worked together. It was the same with Lochaber MRT where many ex RAF had settled down.

Lochaber MRT past and present

Our nearest teams Cairngorm, Glenmore Lodge, Braemar and Aberdeen were often calling the RAF Teams to assist on big Rescues. These were the days of the Glenmore Mafia a group of incredible mountaineers. These teams had huge characters as well but in bad weather it was strange how you rarely saw a face under the goggles and balaclavas in wild weather.

Hamish and SARDA

Yet it was always the locals that were key players. Estate workers, local mountaineers and the local Police made it a unique period.

Cairngorm Willie

Travelling about in the far North of Scotland we met so many of the local folk. From Skye, Kintail, Assynt , Torridon and Dundonnald . Areas with a small population covering huge remote mountains.

Gerry Acroyd Skye

There were and still are so many characters in Mountain Rescue. Various things like the Killin Team Leader was killed when the Wessex helicopter crashed on Ben More on a Callout. That night and the day after we had a special bond with the Killin Team.

Killin MRT

There were so many folk great memories of Braemar MRT who were so kind when I lost two great pals climbing on Lochnagar Mark and Neil. The team was so kind and caring to me and others.

A mixed group at Braemar SARDA, Kinloss MRT

You build up a trust with folks hard won at times as at you are only visitors in their area. Yet over the years we build friendships.

Old and bold SARDA members.

I had a great relationship with SARDA and seeing them work on the hill in terrible conditions mostly alone used to worry me. They were also great as the had lots of female handlers this was at a time when there were few in the teams.

Torridon team !

Lots of teams had fathers and sons in there ranks. This was a great asset as most like Ryan and his Dad were Torridon trained. We must never forget the families who supported their loved ones. Nowadays it is often mentioned but I spoke to a few wife’s who worried as their loved ones when out on a rescue.

The late John Hinde a great role model

I was very fortunate to meet so many great mentors in RAF Mountain Rescue. John Hinde was one who helped me a lot and gave me so much of the history of our Service.

Ray Sefton and Hamish.

Various Team Leaders also were real characters and you learn from most of them. Also one never forgets the team members you share so much with them over the years. Many become lifetime friend’s the mountains are a great place to learn about not just mountaineering but life.

Some characters.

There are so many characters to mention. Folk like Peter Cliff, Donald Watt, Terry Cornfield. So many others like Team members in every team: real characters who never seek the limelight but are true unselfish folk.

Willie Anderson Lochaber a true character.

Nowadays there are still many characters about in every team from Galloway to the Hebrides. They all rely on local support and fundraising not easy in these austere days.

It’s the same with the SAR helicopters there are so many characters all over UK each with a tale to tell. It’s the same with the Police who are responsible for missing mountaineers and others. They also have a long history of supporting the teams.

Great mates.

I cannot thank you all enough and it’s great to see the changes in Mountain Rescue today. It’s even better to see how many young folk we made a difference to over the years. Many became Team Leaders others great unassuming Team members. The mountains give you that bond that in many stays with you for life. So look after those young folk they are the leaders of tomorrow never take anything for granted.

Comments welcome

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, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Big Characters in Mountain Rescue.

  1. chopperlad says:

    It was a pleasure to work with you Heavy, in those Leuchars days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lots of great memories there Heavy . and nae H&S

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Danes says:

    A super and nostalgic walk down “Memory Lane” Heavy. Glad to see that you are still upright Old Buddy and enjoying life. I am afraid that it is the Flat Lands of Lincolnshire for me these days. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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