On the Beat with the Police Scotland (Grampian) Mountain Rescue Team

There is a hoolie blowing whipping the snow up into a frenzy.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 9:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 9:19 am
Police Team Member, Sergeant Allan Masson.

The beam of your head-torch only penetrates the darkness a few metres to either side, where the indistinct figures of Mike (teacher) and Callum (game-keeper) are the only two members of the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team (MRT), from the thirty or so that are out on the hill, you can actually see.

There is a small knot of fear in your stomach as your group line searches along a snow clad slope in the Central Cairngorms acutely aware avalanches are an ever present risk, which can only be reduced, but never eliminated, by careful route choice and movement.

The ‘fear’ keeps you alert and stops potentially fatal complacency clouding your decision making.

Your radio crackles into life and the words ‘We have a find!’ ring out. The overdue walker you were out looking for has been located and what was likely the worst night of their life has just got a whole lot better, but it will still be several gruelling hours before you can rewarm the moderately hypothermic casualty and walk them off the sub-arctic plateau to the waiting vehicles at Derry Lodge.

The above incident is just a snapshot of typical winter rescue for the police officers of the Police Scotland (Grampian) MRT, who are all members of and fully embedded in the civilian Braemar MRT: a true partnership that has endured more than fifty years saving lives in the hills, searching for missing persons in the forests and on the beaches of the North East and turning out for major incidents, such as the Ballater floods in 2015.

Like all other mountain rescue teams Braemar MRT is charitable organisation composed of volunteers from the community.

Braemar MRT is not just a rescue organization but also has role in promoting mountain safety, and with winter just around the corner people going to the hills need to be prepared for the change in season.

Mountaineering Scotland’s ThinkWINTER campaign is a fantastic resource with detailed, user-friendly guidance on key areas of winter preparation. Visit www.mountaineering.scot/safety-and-skills/thinkwinter