Arran wander up Glen Rosa Cir Mor and Beinn Tarsuin.

I am in Arran to help raise funds for the Arran Mountain Festival and I am speaking along with two of the local lassies in Corrie Village Hall tonight at 1930, there will also be a BBQ run by the local Arran Mountain Rescue Team. The weather has been great and Arran is busy. My mate Dan Carrol is with me another Ex MRT team Leader and we are staying in Lamlash at a local ivy Bank Bed and Breakfast for a few days. We are being looked after so well by Alan and Cherie who run the it and we are being so well looked after. Thank you.

Lamlash View early morning.

We had a great breakfast the sun was out and were away early Arran was looking superb. It was then sort out the gear for a possible days climbing on the majestic Granite cliffs of Cir Mor. I took the rope plus my harness helmet etc and Dan all the protection nuts and slings add in some water and it was a heavier than usual bag and the walk in up Glen Rosa takes me about 2 hours to the cliffs. It was warm as we left Brodick and arrived in Glen Rosa. We parked the car and saw that the campsite was very quite. That should have been a warning as the weather was magic.

Glen Rosa  – Dan

We took it easy as I love this place the path is great now and in the old days we could drive up to the ford in a land rover. The walk was lovely and the path superb, I had been coming this way with my Dad’ Mum and family since I was a little boy it holds so much magic to me and memories of these hills and the river. Today it was sparkling and looking superb.

So many memories of Glen Rosa.

We had a great chat walking slowly and after an hour the sky darkened as we started to see a couple of tents near the river and three climbers. They had midge nets on and were not enjoying their situation it was soon to be the same for us. As we climbed up to the cliffs it got worse and we soon getting attacked as we walked the midges and clegs were brutal. There was no wind and a slight rain and they loved it. We battled on and were soon at our cliff but hardly stopping to enjoy the view. I told Dan that my brother and I had a wild night up here about 30 years ago when out tent got battered in a storm in November in the snow. their were no midges then.

Midge tastic!

It was an easy decision no climbing get up onto the main ridge and maybe just maybe some wind. It was so still and oppressive by now clouds were about and the midges were feasting nothing stops them there were clouds of them.

The Great cliff but not today.

It was hard work onto the ridge but still no respite, the midges were there and there was no wind. I had so wanted to climb today but not like that. We headed on past A’ Chir followed by our midges and took an easy line onto Beinn Tarsuin where we had a bit of wind and life got better. We also met Kristie and her dog Caileag powering her way up to the summit via Goatfell, Cir Mor , Beinn Trasuin and Nuis. We had a chat and it was great to meet her and seeing her running so well.

Kirstie and Dan

We had a great wander there was wind and met only a few others on the ridge the sun was back out and the views of the sea and the great Arran hills sublime. I was picking out old climbs from the past with so many companions to my Mum Dad and family over 55 years ago. We had time to enjoy these hills and despite the extra weight of ropes etc it was a smashing day.

Wild Arran

We wandered back down to Glen Rosa had a bit of midgy attack and met one of the Henry brothers who Dan recognised as they gave us access to the track many years ago. We had a chat and this is why you go to these places these people make the day and the memories.

My walks of Arran

It was then into Brodick to visit the Outdoor shop Arran Active who had some great gear and a local helpful attitude.  We then met a previous Arran Team Leader Alister Hulme and had a great chat and good to see him looking so well.

It was then back to a sunny Lamlash and a shower and eat in the local busy pub a grand meal. There were great rainbows over Holly Island and so good that the kids were playing in the sea till late and then a drink with Andy and Cherie and bed.

Today the sun is out but it will be a short wander then back for the chat. I love Arran so much even the midges.

How do you stop the midges biting?

You cover yourself in sugar?

It rots their teeth!

Michael Moulford joke or not?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Corbetts, Enviroment, Family, Flora, Hill running and huge days!, Lectures, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Arran Mountain Festival – fundraiser August

The Isle of Arran why is it so special  to me?

It is a huge honour to be asked to speak in Arran about some of my adventures at the Arran Mountain Festival Lecture in August please come along and support it.

This wonderful Island means so much to me I was born in Ayr and most days I could see Arran and those incredible peaks in all seasons My father as a Minister used to bring us all over for a working holidays every year! We would climb the great Arran peaks from an early age as a family, we had no gear and lots of fun. There were 5 kids and Mum and Dad. What adventures we had on these great hills and I grew to love this special Island

Arran gave me so much in these formative years and I have been so privileged to walk climb and carry our rescues  for over 50 years. I was involved in Mountain Rescue for 40′ years and have climbed all over the World yet Arran ,this Island the people the mountains are so special to me .

As a Mountain  Rescue team member troop in the early 70’s we managed a great winter crossing of the ridge, it was a huge undertaking and I will never forget the walking off as the sunset after a huge day. Ice axe and crampons all day in Arran was a rare occurrence and this was one of my finest adventures. I even managed a few winter climbs over the years, was I lucky?  For many years I was to rock climb on Cir Mor and other great cliffs and experience the wonderful Arran and rough granite and the blankness of some of the slab climbs they are great experiences over so many years.

I can never forget when I am coming down Glen  Rosa  having a swim  as we did with Mum and Dad in the early 60’s and the long walk back via the chippy in Brodick.   The deep granite pools and the clear water still the same after so many years. My Dad showing me the climber on Cir Mor and me being lucky enough to climb there so many times. I loved the classic climbs Souwester Slab, South Ridge Direct and Blank and others.

 

As my Dad said Arran “is in our hearts in more ways than one”

Posted in Corbetts and other hills, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing | Leave a comment

RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team’s ~ Sixty finest quality mountain days in Scotland

Known as ‘The Kinloss sixty’.

 

The following list was collated in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Royal Air Force Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and is a selection of quality mountaineering and climbing days that can be experienced in Scottish mountains and are considered to be testing and exhilarating single day achievements.

 

Team members both past and present agreed this selection of quality ‘outings’ through consensus.  Team members have historically completed all the ventures in the past and although not necessarily of the highest technical standards they do represent many of the finest achievements that are attainable in the space of a single day.  None of the celebrated ‘Big Walks’ such as trans country multiple mountain traverses are represented here, these achievements are comprehensively documented elsewhere in their own right

 

Hopefully this listing will provide an inspiration, incentive and objective for future generations of RAF Mountain Rescue personnel and indeed other mountaineers to participate in their completion maybe as form of ‘tick’ list of quality things to do in the Scottish mountains.  Let the fun begin …….

 

 

  1. The Greater traverse of the Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye (including the standard ridge and also the Blaven-Clach Glas traverse with cross country walk between.

 

The direction of travel is optional but the main ridge is probably best and easiest done from Ghars Bheinn to Sgurr nan Gillean and should include the ridge direct as much as possible including the Thearlach Dubh gap, King’s Chimney, Innaccessible Pinnacle and Naismith’s Route on Am Bastier.

 

Seven to twelve hours should be allowed for the traverse of the main ridge with a further twelve hours reckoned for to complete the Greater traverse.  The main ridge has short sections of climbing at very difficult standard (V. Diff rock grade).   In all this is a very demanding undertaking although exhilarating and possibly offers the finest of mountaineering adventure available in Scotland and indeed the British Isles.

 

 

  1. The Dubh Ridge (doing the Dubhs as they say) of Sgur Dubh Mor on the Black Cuillins of Skye.

 

Traditionally the route is started in Glen Brittle then onto Sgurr na Banadich summit where a to descent to Loch Coruisk is made for a quick ‘dip’ in this magnificent sea-loch.  Once suitably ‘watered’ an ascent is made back onto Sgurr Dubh Mor via the Dubh Ridge, an interesting but testing, ‘easier’ graded climb that leads to the summit where a return can be made to Glen Brittle.  A competent and fit party should expect to spend a full day on this splendid venture !

 

  1. The Pinnacle Ridge Circuit

 

 

3 Skye – Pinnacle Ridge – Naismiths Route  (Am Basteir, Bruach na Frithe)

Great mountaineering day Naismiths follows an improbable line for VD, how bold were these guys?

Isle of Skye Pinnacle Ridge – Sgurr nan Gillean – Am Basteir – Bruach na Frithe
4 Foinaven /Arkle Traverse

Big hill day in a remote area.

N/W Sutherland  Foinaven – Arkle.
5 Elphin Traverse a big day in the wee hills. Lots of height gained, wonderful views of the hills and the sea. Pentland Firth Traverse of Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mhor – Cul Beag

 

6 The Fannaichs

 

Beginner’s introduction to a big hill day.

The Fannaichs An Coileachan, Meall Gorm, Sgurr Mor, Beinn Liath Mor Fannaich, Meall a’Chrasgaidh, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Each, Sgurr Breac, A’Chailleach
7 The Shenavall Six/ Summer/winter

 

Superlative hills in great country, the pull back up on the way home clears the mind. Magnificent, a must for everyone!

 

Really brave people do 7 + 8 together

Fisherfield Hills Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh, Sgurr Ban, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ben Tarsuinn, A’Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mor
8 An Teallach (winter)*** Grade 2 If taken direct

Best hill in Scotland, do not miss the complete traverse for the best views.

Dundonnell Sail Liath – Sgurr Fiona – Sgurr Creag an Eich – Bidean a Ghlas Thuill
9 Beinn Dearg Six.

The drop to Am Faochagach is one to remember

Ullapool Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Cona Mheall, Beinn Dearg, Seana Breagh. Am Faochagach
10 The Torridon Trilogy.

 

Ben Alligin – Liathach – Beinn Eighe you can add the Corbett

 

One of Scotland’s finest, two beleachs of pain to enjoy. The West Coast at its best.

 

 

Big Boys and girls only in winter

Torridon Tom na Gruagaich – Sgurr Mor, Mullach an Rathain – Spidean a’ Choire Leith -Connich Mhor – Ruadh – Stac Mor – Black Carlins – Kinlochewe.
11 “The Knoydart Three”

A very isolated area, worth doing just for the situation.

Knoydart Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Bhuidhe
12

Glendessary Five.

Another gem of the West coast, a long day and either a long walk in or out, time to contemplate.

Garich – Sgurr Mor – Sgurr na Coireachan – Garb Choire Mhor – Sgurr na Ciche
13 South Cluanie Ridge

 

“A great starter day, training for big hill days”

Best way to do it is by the Forcan ridge.

Glen Shiel The Saddle, Sgurr Na Sgine, Creag nan Damh Sgurr an Lochain, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Maol Chinn- Dearg, Aonach air Chrith, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain, Druim Shionnach Creag a Mhaim
14 Glen Affric Traverse- Toll Creaghach – Mullach na Dheiragain

 

A very big day, and a “Long walk back”

 

 

Glen Affric Toll Creagach – Tom a Choinich – Carn Eighe – Beinn Fionnlaidh – Mam Sodhail – An Sochach – Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan – Mullach na Dheiragain – Affric
15 Ben Alder Horse Shoe

“Cycle in to Culra” and maybe spend the night to saviour the atmosphere.

Loch Ericht Carn Dearg – Geal Charn – Aonach Beag – Beinn Eibhinn – Ben Alder – Beinn Bheoil
16 Cairngorms – The Big Seven

“The drop into the Larig Gru is when the mind games start.

The Cairngorms Cairn gorm, Ben Macdui, Carn a’ Mhaim, The Devil’s Point, Carn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Braeriach
17 Eagle Ridge Plus 5 munros, munro baggers only

 

“A busy day” involving a fair bit of fitness.

Lochnagar Severe *** 650ft

Lochnagar – Carn a choire Bhoidheach – Carn an t – Sagairt – Mor – Carn Bannoch – Broad Cairn

18

“Adverikie” Wall plus 3 Munros

 

Scotland finest Severe and three good hills, a bike would be helpful and a place to dump the gear.

  350 ft HS *** Creag Pitridh – Geal Charn – Beinn a Chlachair.
19 The Big Four

“A wonderland of views, lots of area knowledge for the big callout.”

Ben Nevis Aonach Mor, Aonach Beag, Carn Mor Dearg, Ben Nevis
20 The Mamores

 

“An early test for Munro baggers”

The Mamores Sgurr Eilde Mor, Binnein Beag, Binnien Mor, Na Gruagaichean, An Gearanach, Stob Choire a’ Chairn, Am Bodach, Sgurr a’ Mhaim, Stob Ban, Mullach nan Coirean
21 Both Sides of Glencoe

 

Buachille – Aonach Eag

 

“A lot harder than you think, no stopping for a pint”

Glencoe Buachille Etive Mor – Buachille Etive Beag- Stob Coire Sgreamhach – Bidean nam Bian – Sgorr nam Fiannaidh – Meall Dearg,
22 Aonach Eagach Ridge winter/summer with Clachaig Gully 1500 ft Severe ***

“Some take all day in the gully, a great Scottish experience for severe climbers”

Glencoe Clachaig Gully -, – Sgorr nam Fiannaidh  – Meall Dearg
23

Etive Traverse

 

This is a really long and difficult day, some skilful route finding needed.

Glen Etive Hills Ben Starav – Beinn nan Aighenan – Bheinn Mhor – Stob Coire Albannaich – Meall nan – Eun – Stob a Bhruaich Leith – Stob Ghabhar – Stob Choire Odhair – Clach Leathad – Creise – Meal a Bhuirdh
24 Ben More Seven

 

Hard hills for Leuchars area, do not forget to stop at Elmas after the day

Crainlarich Ben More, Stob Binnein – Cruach Ardrain – Beinn Tulaichean – Beinn a’ Chroin – An Casteal – Beinn Chabhair
25 Ben Lawyers Seven (winter)

 

Normal Leuchars Day

Killin Meall nan Tarmachan – Meall Corranach – Meal a Choire Leith – Ben Lawyers -An Stuc – Meall Garbh – Meall Greigh
26 Arran Ridge

 

“Fantastic day, Scotland in miniature, wonderful mountaineering a long walk back if completing the Traverse”

Isle of Arran Goatfell – Cir Mhor – Caistel Abhail – Ceum na Caillich – Beinn Tarsuinn – Beinn Nuis – Beinn Bharrain – Mullach Buidhe. Greater Traverse
27 The Old Man of Hoy

Book left on top by Scotty KMRT. Ian Clough on first ascent ex Kinloss.  Do not bivy on top.

Isle of Hoy (Orkney) E1 5b 460ft ***
28 The Old Man of Stoer

Brilliant especially when tide is in, who swims the channel?

Lochinver VS *** 4c 180 ft
29 Visit Stron Ulladale (The Scoop)

“A sore neck day”

Isle of Harris “Look and Learn” 300 VS 4b
30 The Cioch Nose

“Patey’s finest, finish by the ridge.

Applecross V Diff *** 450 ft
31

Northern Rock – Dragon/Gob

One of Scotland’s finest crags and area, bike again handy and a wee bottle for the bothy. VD men head for Beinn Lair.

Carnmore crag

340 ft HVS *** 5a/ 420 VS 4c ***
32 Skye Rock – ***

Wonderful, day on great rock, no fingertips left at the days end!

Isle of Skye Coire Na Ciche – Cioch Direct 500 Severe *** Arrow Route 120 VD *** Integrity Severe 250
33  The Great Prow Blaven Clach Glas Traverse.

The easiest route in Hard rock finished by a superb mountain day.

Isle of Skye  The Great Prow VS 4c/, Clach Glas, Blaven
34 Cairngorm rock – The Needle

Great views on clean Cairngorm rock.

(Cairngorms) Loch Avon 840 ft E1 ***
35 Talisman/Clean Sweep

 

Two fine routes, Clean Sweep one of Robin Smiths finest

 

Coire Etchacan -Hell’s Lum Crag (Cairngorms) HS 500ft *** HS 350 ft ***
36  Mitre Ridge “Cumming Crofton Route ” Squareface best VD in Scotland

Long walk in/out, watch the loose rock on Mitre Ridge

Beinn a’ Bhuird (Cairngorms) 550ft, H Severe *** 150ft VD ***
37 Savage Slit (summer)

Fallout Corner

 

Impressive lines, great rock

Coire an Lochain (Cairngorms) Severe *** 180ft

180 ft VS 4c

38 The Brute/ King Bee

Kinloss route – Dougal Hastons crag a crag for the bold VS leaders.

Creag Du  Newtonmore  200 VS 5a ***/ 180 ft HVS 4c ***
39  Ben Nevis “Five Ridges In a Day”

Take a camera; if you achieve this you are now nearly a mountaineer.

Ben Nevis N/E Buttress, Observatory, Tower Ridge, Castle Ridge. Ledge Route
40 Centurion

Minus One

Magnificent rock climbing on the Big Bad Ben

Carn Dearg Buttress – Minus Buttress (Ben Nevis) 540 HVS 5a ***

860 ft HVS ***5a

41 The Moruisg Hills

 

Stop at Beardies bothy on the long walk out.

 

Achnashelleach Moruisg – Sgurr nan Ceanaichean – Sgurr Connich – Sgurr Connich – Sgurr a Chaorachan – Maoile Lunndaidh – Bidean a Choire Sheasgaich – Lurg Mor
42 Kinloss Corner/Agags Groove January Jigsaw

Scottish traditional rock, steeped in history

Buachaille Etive Mor

330 VD ***/360 VD***330 VD ***
43 The Chasm

An unforgettable experience, especially the top pitches one for the crag rat.

Buachaille Etive Mor Severe *** 1500ft
44 The Etive Trilogy

 

A big Idwal slabs, bold routes impressive rock. Watch the descent and the midges

Glen Etive Slabs Hammer 500 HVS ***/ Spartan Slab 400 ***/ Swastika 500 E1 5b ***
45 Cobbler Rock –

Bold middle range rock on a traditional crag.

The Cobbler (Arrochar) Recess Route, Punster’s Crack, Ardgarten Arete. Whether Wall V Diff *** 250ft, Severe *** 160ft, Severe *** 200ft
46  Arran Rock –

Got to be done by everyone, Labyrinth different type of route

Isle of Arran Cir Mhor Labyrinth 250 Severe, *** Sou’wester Slabs 350 VD ***
47 Arran Rock – South Ridge Direct

Another classic that gets better with age.

Isle of Arran VS *** 395m  5a/b
47

Winter climbs Cairngorms Coire An Lochan – The Vent -Western Route

Two differing routes in a busy Corrie.

Coire an Lochan

350 ft Grade 3***/400 ft Grade 4/5***
48 Deep Cut Chimney.

Should go in most conditions wild move out of chimney!

Hell’s Lum Crag (Cairngorms) 560 ft Grade 4 ***
50 Fluted Buttress/ Hidden Chimney/ Alladdins Buttress.

Winter Course tick lists

Coire an -Sneachda

350 ft Grade 4**/ 300 ft Grade 3** /350 ft Grade 4/5 ***
51  Greag Mheagaidh Ice – Smiths Route/ Staghorn Gully

Big long, serious routes with a long walk out. Good navigation a must>

Greag Meagaidh 550 ft Grade 6 *** 1200 Grade 3 ***
52  Ben Nevis Ice – Point Five Gully (winter)

Kinloss involved in first ascent Ian Clough and mates.

Observatory Buttress (Ben Nevis) Grade 5/5 **** 1000ft
52 Smiths Route/ The Curtain

How did they climb these routes cutting steps

The Ben 400 ft Grade 5 *** 250 ft Grade 4/5 ***
53 Tower Ridge (winter)

Scotland finest winter route, read Murray’s account in Undiscovered Scotland.

Ben Nevis  Grade 3 ****Magic winter day.

 

 

55

Observatory Ridge

Very tricky route, not to be underestimated.

The Ben 1000ft Grade 4 ****
56

Aonach Mor – The Twins winter

Left Twin/ Right Twin.

Watch the descent gully,

Anoach Mhor

300 ft Grade 3 *** 250 Grade 2 ***
57  Beinn Udlaidh Ice –

Special place for introduction to steep ice.

Beinn Udlaidh Quartvein Scoop/ South Gully Of Black wall/ Peter Pan.300 ft Grade 4/4*** 250 ft 4/4**

250ft 5/5**

58

Very Big hill days – Lochaber Traverse.

Mamores – Grey Corries and The Big Four 19 Munros in 24 hrs.

 

A test of stamina and mind should be done on the longest day.

Lochaber

Mamores Mullach nan Coirean – Sgurr Eilde Mor- Stob Ban – Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coire Eain, Sgurr Chonnich Mor, Aonach Beag, Aonach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg, Ben Nevis.

59 “Kintail Traverse”

South Clunnie Ridge – North Clunnie 17 Munros in 24 hrs.

 

Mind-blowing drop to the Clunnie Inn, do not stop in keep going, you are half way there.

Kintail

The Saddle – Sgurr Na Sgine – Creag nan Damh – Sgurr an Lochan – Maol Chinn – Dearg – Aonach a Chrith – Druim Shionnach – Creag a Mhain –

A Chralaig – Mullach Fraoch – coire – Ciste Dubh – Aonach Meadhoin – Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg – Salieag – Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe – Sgurr na Carnach – Sgurr Fhuaran.

60 The Skye Ridge Winter

This two-day expedition involving a bivouac on the ridge. To this date (2005) no RAF MR Troop has completed Britain’s finest winter route.  Any Takers for the Greater Traverse in winter?

The complete mountaineer will achieve this in his CV.

Skye Gars Bleinn – Sgurr Na Gillean Grade 4 *** to include the Thearlaich Dubh Gap – Kings Chimney – In Pin on Sgurr Dearg – Naismiths Route on Am Basteir.

The greater Traverse includes Blaven

 

 

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A visit to the Mull Of Kintyre to the Chinook Crash site some hard memories.

I am heading to Arran for a lecture on Wed August the 9 th at Corrie village Hall on the way I  visited the Mull of Kintyre . It is a place I have not been to since the 2 June 1994, I was there very quickly with the RAF Kinloss MRT flying in by Sea King helicopter to a scene of detestation .  it was a difficult time for all concerned as there were 29 fatalities.  Yesterday  I returned after all those years and I revisited this wild place.

The weather has been very poor and it rained a lot and was very dark and cold on the journey . My memories of events so tragic as this eventful day all those years ago was vague the minds way of coping?

It was great to have company and Dan is a great pal and it gave his Mum and Dad an insight into what we had a times to cope with  on our days in Mountain Rescue.

 it was an incredible journey to the Mull. It is a small single track road that takes you into the Mull Of Kintyre a remote area. I had been staying with with my mate Dan’s Mum and Dad and they came with us to the Mull to see the Memorial. We went and spent some time there and visited the new Memorial and then I left them  and I went all the way down to the lighthouse where we were dropped off by helicopter. It was a strange day and one of many memories. By now the sun was out and this place looked stunning. There was no trace of any crash and apart from the memorial nothing? Then it was a long drive back through the track in the sun and have a meal and then head for Arran !

Mull Memorial 2017 August

Over Twenty Years ago and this story is still as vivid to me as it was when it happened. It started as an unreal day I was stationed at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire I had just stood down as the Full time RAF Mountain Rescue Team Leader and after a short break I was back on the Mountain Rescue team. It was good as I was again a Team member and not the leader a great deal of pressure was gone and I was back in my trade running an office what a change from a full –time Team leader. The station in these days had Exercise this was 1994 and old habits the Cold War meant that we trained for war and the RAF Station shut down for 3 days as we played war.  It was a very busy time and as a Caterer (my real job) the station was on 12 hour shifts for 3-4 days. It was always and awful time as much was concerned with the station being attacked at the end and various awful scenarios that could occur. Most of us had to go into hardened shelters, practice using gas masks etc, generally an awful time for all. On this exercise we had we had practiced an aircraft crash on the airfield and just finished it when we were told of real crash at the Mull Of Kintyre. As usual the top brass in the Station were in charge and it was the usual chaos but as always the RAF MRT were in their element and it was soon sorted with the Team being told to stand down and  get going. It is so easy dealing with a scenario near the station or on it but away in a remote area another world. This is what the RAF MRT is for and we had many veterans of difficult aircraft crashes and incidents in our team at the team  The weather was great it was early June and the whole team was available, the pagers and Tannoy blared out and I was at the MRT Section within a few minutes. The Team Leader Jim Smith said that it was a possible helicopter Crash on the Mull Of Kintyre and a Sea King helicopter was inbound in 5 minutes to pick up a “fast party” The Mull Of Kintyre is a remote area in the West Coast of Scotland and a long way off. I did not expect to get on the helicopter and the 5 /10 minutes is not long to sort out your world but I was told I was going. I was to be one of the “fast party “they were a very experienced group 6 team members plus the Team Leader that went on the aircraft. The rest of the team another 20 would follow by road a long journey 5- 6 hours away! It was not long after 1800 when we were called and we were away very quickly.

 

Jim Smith was the Team Leader he had only recently handed over to me and once you are in the back of a helicopter it is a different world. In the back it is noisy and even in the summer the aircraft is dark and busy with the crew all working hard, it is incredible to watch. Add to that it was a possible military aircraft crashes they crew do not hang about. The flight about an hour from Kinloss was so fast we hammered across the mountains. I remember flashing by Ben Alder and heading low and fast to the Mull. The information was scant and even though it had just happened more was coming all the time. In the back of the aircraft you feel out of it but then a scrap of paper appears and we were told it was a military helicopter a Chinook with a lot of passengers. There are a few people who ask you what do you think off as you are in the helicopter? My thought was a lot of casualties the Chinook is a big helicopter and there may be multi –casualties? How would we cope?

As we neared the Mull Of Kintyre the mist was down and the helicopter could only land at the lighthouse landing site in thick mist. It was too difficult to try to get us further up the hill. We could hear the emergency beacons going off in our aircraft just before we landed in a swirling mist right by the lighthouse. Information was very scant but the beacons were a bad sign and we had to get in quick. We were carrying large trauma/ first aid bags plus our kit and as soon as we landed we had a quick get together. We had the very basic P.P.I. gear with us masks and other paraphernalia but as we had a trudge about half a kilometre up to the crash site we decided to move fast and not wear it. That was all our decision as we hoped there would be lives to save. It was then a run uphill to the scene, through the smoke and debris.

1994 Chinook Crash 01 on fire 1994-001

We arrived at the scene the helicopter was a crumpled mess fires and smoke made the place like out of a war scene and we split up to locate the crew a grim job, with the aircraft still burning and banging scene from a movie but this was real life. There were a few locals but they were shell shocked and were glad we had arrived. They had done their best but by their faces they just were glad we were there. It is so important to account for all the passengers and crew and we doubled up and raced round the site. There was little we could do all the crew were dead and the crash site was very dangerous, sharp wreckage, fires, smoke and trauma. We located all the 29 and then updated Jim the Team Leader and all we could do now was secure the site and wait for the emergency services.     The trauma and dangers about at such a place make it very dangerous, there were a few live weapons about and lots of personal belongings danger and trauma was everywhere. The aircraft had been carrying some of the cream of the military, police and civilian anti-terrorist experts to a Conference in Fort George in Inverness and the security implications were to be massive.  It would be a difficult few days ahead for everyone and one I would never forget?

 

 

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Ardgour/ Fort William and now heading for Arran via the Mull of Kintyre.

It is the rainy season and my trip to Ardgour was so wet that I never even ventured on the hill. The showers were wild as was the rain and after arriving on Thursday and leaving Sunday I only got a few walks low level.My plans for the odd Corbett were dashed but we had a good time enjoying a visit to Ardamurchan Light house and local walks.

The light house was a great trip and the views even on a wet day and the tales by the Light House Keeper were magic. We even saw a Sailing Ship ” The Flying Dutchman” go by in full sail in between showers. I would advise all to visit well worth the drive and the cafe magic and the history museum superb. It made up for the weather.

The Flying Dutchman in full sail.

The Club arrived on Friday night but I was heading to Fort William that day early for some research for my book. The weather was a lot better and they got a Corbett in despite the wet ground as I headed back to the early Ferry £ 8.20 each way and was at Lochaber MRT base for the best part of the day.

The Ferry at Strontain

I met some of the Old and Bold and we had a laugh. The new centre ” Gang Hut” is great and their use of technology very up beat. They are so busy though and it was an interesting afternoon.

Lochaber MRT Old and Bold

It was then back to Ardgour as Ellen our Australian pal was heading home and she had a good send of and all had a hard day on the long walk in Corbett. I was a bit out of it but left them partying into the wee small hours. I was on the first ferry back to the mainland at 0830 and met Dan for our trip to Arran via a visit to his Mum and Dad and then today the Mull of Kintyre. Dan stopped on route down a dead end in the middle of no where for some cakes in an old telephone box!

The cake Box

 

Dan loves cakes and bought loads which were greatly appreciated by all. What a great idea!!

 

It was a wet Journey most of the way we met Elma at Crainlarich for tea and cakes ( She loves Dan) then it rained all the way to Skipness and I am talking real rain. No views till we arrived at Dan’s Mum and Dad’s but had a great walk along the beach when it cleared and we saw Arran. Well fed and watered and lots of tales of Dan and a lavish night to head of to the Mull Of Kintyre then Arran tonight.

Arran views

Great company and maybe the weather may change?

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