Team Management Report 2021/2022

With the further relaxation of Covid restrictions, 2021 saw a steady number of callouts as well as the welcome return of regular full team training; the latter bringing back a much-needed degree of normality to team life.

However, with callouts, like boxes of chocolates and buses, you never quite know what you’re going to get nor how many will come at once. The second weekend in October was proof of this and saw us called out four times – even for the older hands, this came as quite a shock to the system and by the Sunday evening we were all digging deep.

The first callout came in on the Friday evening and involved an overdue walker thought to be in the area of Jock’s Road between Glen doll and Glen Callater. Mobilising at1930, AMRT members went in from the Spital of Muick to search up and over a wet and cloudy Broad cairn, Cairn Bannoch and Fafernie.

Braemar MRT had come in from Callater, and Tayside MRT from Glen Doll but in spite of this pincer movement and having over 40 MRT personnel on the hill that night, the teams were unable to locate the missing person. Searchers came off the hill in the early hours of the morning.

Saturday morning saw the teams return to the hill to continue the search by which time phone contact had been made with the missing walker. Their location, near the summit of Lochnagar, was confirmed and a search party assisted them to safety.

Not long home, and with wet gear hanging up to dry, team members were called out for a second time at 14.00 to assist an injured runner on Bennachie. This time the casualty was packaged and transferred to ARI by Coastguard helicopter but not before news was coming in of another potential incident.

That night a small number of Braemar MRT were out checking likely routes for two walkers who had lost contact with one another on Sgorr an Lochain Uaine. They had become separated the previous day in bad weather and one had now called the police for assistance.

Following an unsuccessful search, a full team callout was initiated with both Aberdeen and Braemar MRTs deploying on the Sunday morning. With one walker accounted for, AMRT members alongside colleagues from the Search and Rescue Dog Association were deployed by Coastguard helicopter from Derry Lodge to search the high ground around Cairn Toul. Having spent two very uncomfortable nights out on the hill, the missing person was eventually located at around noon and teams were stood down.

Back home there was just enough time to repack the sandwiches and stock up on Haribo before the next text message came through: three climbers had become cragfast on Lochnagar’s Eagle Ridge and team vehicles were once again heading out Deeside for callout number four.

A joint party of AMRT and BMRT again made use of the Coastguard helicopter which lifted them and the necessary technical rigging equipment, including half a kilometre of rope, to within easy reach of the top of the route. Anchors were quickly rigged and as further troops arrived, three 600 foot lowers were carried out to pluck the climbers form the ridge. They were then walked back to waiting Landrovers whilst the teams made their way down with the equipment. 0800 and the last callout was put to bed.

That weekend saw the team deployed for a total of 415 man hours between the Friday night and the Monday morning. Events had involved all skills from the summer training programme as well as almost all of our partner agencies. The combination of teamwork and training ensured the safe return of all involved and the weekend again highlighted the professionalism and commitment which we can sometimes take for granted.

Out with being on call outs, the Team train regularly and are also involved in giving talks to local groups and attending outdoor events such as a Climbing evening at Transition extreme and a Winter Skills course run by Mountaineering Scotland at Craigdon Mountain Sports, amongst others.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our supporters for your continued donations. Without you we would not be able to continue to provide assistance to those who require our help. Thank you.

The final thank you as always goes to all of the families and colleagues of our mountain rescue volunteers because without your support and understanding none of this would be possible.

Keep safe.

AMRT Management