Rescue training for Dee ghillies

Ghillies, river staff and course tutors prepare for the training exercise
Ghillies, river staff and course tutors prepare for the training exercise

Ghillies on the Dee recently undertook training to help equip them with the knowledge and skills to achieve safe river rescue.

Fishing, although not an extreme sport, has its own inherent dangers. Every year, anglers lose their lives while pursuing their favourite pastime. Such incidents are rare on the Dee, however, it pays to be prepared.

A rescue exercise under way on the River Dee

A rescue exercise under way on the River Dee

Earlier this year one of the ghillies, Kevin Fleming, of Altries and Middle Drum, saved an angler’s life.

The fisherman had an underlying condition, which caused him to lose consciousness and fall into the river.

Kevin’s quick thinking and decisive action saved the day.

It was a timely reminder of the dangers of fishing on a fast-flowing river.

Two training nights were organised with Adventure Aberdeen, who delivered their river rescue course for the ghillies at Potarch. The tutors went through attempting to rescue someone from the river.

After some practice on dry land, the group went down to the riverside where volunteers, including river director Mark Bilsby, got into dry suits and lifejackets and jumped into the river. They were rescued using throwlines and applying a safety procedure.

Mr Bilsby said: “Following the incident earlier this year, the Dee Ghillies Association and Dee Salmon Fishery Improvement Association approached the Dee Fishery Board to organise training to provide staff with the skills to achieve safe river rescue.

“We hope the guys will never have to put their new skills into practice, the ghillies have a good understanding of how to achieve a rescue without jeopardising their own safety.”