In Skye – 1960 The TD Gap and one of the early use of 500 foot ropes. Another call out from the In Pin on a wild night.

1960! June 6 th Callout TD Gap Skye. 2,taken off hill and another sadly fatal lowered then the long carry off to Glenbrittle. look at the simple gear.

Nowadays we are very blessed with lightweight gear. Yet at times you have to take with you what you can carry. A 500 foot rope is very heavy, it leaves you very limited to carry your personal gear. The TD Gap in Skye is a long walk in and carrying big bags not fun. In the 60’s there were few mountain rescue teams about and the RAF Teams supported the early teams. Imagine the 7- 5 hour drive to get to Skye no bridges in these days and then straight on the hill. The gear would be heavy and its not easy terrain to get to.

It’s amazing how basic things like helmets were not about. A few of the old and bold told me of cutting carpet and putting it in there flat caps.

I did a big Callout at the end of a weekend in Skye for a climber from the In Pin. He had fallen earlier on the day as his Rope was short and had a very serious back injury. There were no mobile phones so his partner went for help. It would take about 5 hours for us to get there.

22 years on Skye The In Pin – We were just leaving after a hard weekend in Skye at Glen Brittle on the Sunday when we got the call. 26 June 1982 Inaccessible Pinnacle: Fallen climber 65 with back injuries , 1000 feet Lower mostly in dark from In Pin to the screes the a long carry off in pouring rain to Glen Brittle.

Narrative – A helicopter managed to lift 6 of us into the Corrie Lagan it was in wild weather and misty. We set with a stretcher, casualty bag, medical kit and one 500 foot rope. As I said add your own climbing gear and personal gear it was a massive weight to carry. The screes were wet and slippy and it was a hard carry up the hill. After a long day on the hill even going up to the In Pin in the dark is not easy especially encumbered with heavy gear.

That great character Gerry Ackroyd team leader Skye was already on scene alone and even Gerry was glad to see us. We quickly packaged the casualty and Terry Moore and Gerry leader were lowered down. His area knowledge is exceptional and he had rushed ahead from his home in Glen brittle, what a man.

Myself and John Beattie lowered the casualty then climbed down. It was awful trying to make sure the stones that were falling did not hit the troops. We did another lower and could we could smell of the cordite as the loose rocks rained down. We were huddled under an overhang it was wet and we were struggling but somehow the adrenaline kicks in and your ready to go.

You still feel vulnerable it was dark very misty and now and we could here more troops from Skye and Kinloss heading up on the radio, We needed them to keep out the way till the rockfall danger passed. They were glad of this advice!

Hard work- getting that stretcher down trying to safeguard the casualty is such hard work. There were only a few of us to carry the stretcher, it was dark, the rocks were slippy and we were tired. The relief of meeting the troops later was a joyous meeting. We had a break the casualty was ok but we were all so tired after a long weekend. In the end we all helped get the stretcher down to Glen brittle soaked but pleased. I fell in the burn at the end which all enjoyed. We got back in the middle of the night stayed at Mc Raes barn and my mind was racing and took time to fall asleep.

Lots of memories but worth a read ? I have had to do several rescues in the past off my climbing gear and climbing ropes. Interesting but at times far easier than waiting in a dangerous area. So when you practice all these wonderful skills think of your most difficult cliff to get a crag fast or injured climber with limited SAR Helicopter support or in bad weather,

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 Articles, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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