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April 2016 Training Weekend

The team was based in the Glen Derry area for weekend training on 16-17th April. We took the opportunity to continue searches for Mr Robertson on both days. On Saturday the team searched areas around Beinn Mheadhoin.  The walk to the base of the mountain was in good weather, however as we approached the summit, the weather quickly deteriorated until we were in whiteout conditions. This made searches difficult on higher areas and careful navigation was required. We descended to Loch Etchachan and on to Hutchison Memorial Hut before heading back.
On the Sunday we carried out stretcher lowering training, which we incorporated with further searches for Mr Robertson. We walked with the stretcher to the crags below Derry Cairngorm via Carn Crom. Again, we had clear conditions on the walk-in, but weather conditions deteriorated with high winds. We setup to lower the stretcher just south of the crags by Derry Cairngorm to the Derry Burn at the base of the mountain. The stretcher was lowered using two ropes, building snow anchors from a variety of techniques every 50m to the base of the mountains. This gave us the opportunity to practice building a number of snow anchors in quick succession and learn how to choose the most appropriate anchors based on snow pack conditions. Although sadly we did not find Mr Robertson during our searches, it was valuable training to further develop our skills in poor weather conditions and work on stretcher lowering techniques.
In contrast to a normal Thursday training session at our Westhill base, on Thursday 21st April we headed out to Kirkhill Forest for an Orienteering night. There is a fixed Orienteering course at Kirkhill Forest which we used to brush up on our micro navigation skills. We would recommend to anyone wanting to improve their navigational skills too.