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Skye Mountain Rescue Team
c/o Portree Police Station
Somerled Square
Portree
Isle Of Skye
IV51 9EH

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Call Outs/Incidents 2008

Training in casualty management

2008 was a quieter year for the team with a total of 26 incidents involving a total of 642 voluntary hours.

This year, we were involved in two non-mountain searches for missing persons. Unfortunately, on both occasions, they had taken their own lives, and our role became one of recovering the bodies. Incidents like these, whilst usually not technically difficult, put a different kind of strain on team members. Fortunately, they are rare occurrences for the team and getting two in one year was hopefully just an anomaly.

Tragically we also attended a fatal climbing fall when a young man's planned summer of climbing in the Cuillin came to a cruel end before it had properly begun. There were five other climbing and scrambling falls and three slips resulting in injuries that necessitated evacuation from the hill. Fortunately, for all involved, all these incidents occurred in good flying weather and the Stornoway Coastguard's new helicopter (Call sign RESCUE 100) was a great help, even with it's fearsome downdraft! Rescue 100 didn't get all the glory though, as a Navy Sea King from HMS Gannet, on exercise in the area, carried out two evacuations within a couple of hours of each other. One a classic cliff rescue, winching a couple of cragfast climbers off Sron na Ciche.

We still had a considerable number of incidents where parties had either been reported missing/overdue or contacted the team by mobile phone after under estimating the Cuillin terrain, the difficulty involved in navigating your way through it in mist, or having become lost. On two occasions the lost parties were fortunate enough to be found quickly by MRT members already out on the hill. Lucky people, normally it will take the team a few hours to assemble, decide on a search plan and then get up onto the ridge before they can even beginning searching. Strangely enough when people get lost, by definition, they tend to give us incorrect information as to their likely position so what sounds like a simple route search can end up being quite a prolonged affair! So once again, the advice is that, due to the nature of the terrain and the unreliability of compass bearings the Cuillin is a difficult place to navigate so if you've never been on the Cuillin Ridge before, save your first time for a good day. If you have some previous experience and you do decide to go in poor conditions please stick to routes that you're already familiar with.

And finally, our last incident of 2008 was at Portree Hospital. A patient had fallen while getting into bed and, although uninjured, could not get back up. The on duty ambulance was attending another incident and rather than wait for its return the quick thinking hospital staff contacted the team for a suitable stretcher on which to lift the patient. Always keen to help out in any way we can we obliged and what followed was possibly the shortest stretcher carry in the team's history. If only they were all that easy!

A full summary of all incidents and call outs for 2008 are listed below;

Winching into a RAF Sea King

1. Incident: Party of 2 Overdue
Location: from Geary, Waternish
Date: 9 April 2008 Time: 2300
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 2

A couple set off from Geary on a coastal walk in good weather conditions. Due to a combination of poor navigation and under-estimating the time it would take to complete the walk, they were overcome by darkness. They contacted a family member by text and the alarm was raised. They were located and evacuated by the Coastguard helicopter at first light after spending a very cold night out.

2. Incident: Party of 2 Overdue
Location: Dubh Slabs, Sgurr Dubh Mor
Date: 21 May 2008 Time: 2000
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 2

The party failed to turn up at Glenbrittle campsite by the agreed time after setting off from Loch Coruisk to do the Dubh Slabs route over Sgurr Dubh Mor. They turned up safe and well before the full team had been called out for a search. They had under-estimated the difficulty off, and therefore the time it would take to complete the route.

3. Incident: Fall
Location: Southeast Ridge, Blaven
Date: 25 May 2008 Time: 1600
No of Team Members Involved: 8 Total Team Hours: 32

A male hill walker fell while descending Blaven's Southeast ridge, suffering dislocations to his knee and shoulder and a femur injury. The weather was favourable so the Coastguard helicopter was able to attend to the incident. 8 team members remained at the Sligachan base on standby.

4. Incident: Slip
Location: Old Man of Storr
Date: 27 May 2008 Time: 1250
No of Team Members Involved: 6 Total Team Hours: 18

A female dislocated her knee after slipping while descending the Old Man of Storr footpath. The team and ambulance personnel attended the casualty and prepared her for evacuation by RAF helicopter.

Stretcher lower training at the Kilt Rock

5. Incident: Fall
Location: Whispering Wall,
Sgurr a' Mhadaidh, Glenbrittle
Date: 30 May 2008 Time: 1233
No of Team Members Involved: 12
Total Team Hours: 42

A male rock climber fell while attempting to lead the Whispering Wall route on Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and suffered a fatal head injury. The team recovered his body with the assistance of the Coastguard helicopter.

6. Incident: Male overdue
Location: Sgurr nan Eag, Glenbrittle
Date: 01 June 2008 Time: 2100
No of Team Members Involved: 3 Total Team Hours: 6

A 50 year old male set out to do the ridge traverse with his party. Early into the traverse he started feeling unwell and decided to descend alone from Sgurr nan Eag, leaving the remainder of his party to complete the traverse. When he later failed to turn up at the RV point his party reported him missing. He was located safe and well having made his own way off the hill.

7. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Dalabhil Woods, Sleat
Date: 11 June 2008 Time: 0930
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 180

When the car of a missing person was found at the head of the track leading down to Dalabhil the Team was asked to carry out a search of the area. Also on the search were some SARDA and Police dog teams. The body of the missing person, who had taken his own life, was eventually found by one of the SARDA dog teams. The Team stood down at this point to allow the police to record the scene. The missing person's body was recovered by Kintail MRT later that night.

Tyrolean traverse training

8. Incident: Party of 2, Lost
Location: Coir' a Ghrunda, Glenbrittle
Date: 16 June 2008 Time: 1530
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 2

The clag came in and the party of 2 became lost and disorientated. Fortunately for them their shouts were heard by a Team member who was on the hill. The Team member, abandoning his plans for the day, located the party and escorted them safely off the hill and down to Glenbrittle.

9. Incident: Party of 7, Lost
Location: JMC Hut, Loch Scavaig
Date: 17 June 2008 Time: 0010
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 52.5

The party set off from Glenbrittle to climb Sgurr Alasdair and the In Pin. They became lost and eventually arrived at the JMC Hut where they stayed overnight. When they failed to return to Glenbrittle that evening, the alarm was raised. A full team search was instigated the following morning. They were located at the JMC Hut by the coastguard helicopter and were evacuated back to Glenbrittle.

10. Incident: Fall
Location: Upper Coire Banachdich
Date: 22 June 2008 Time: 1600
No of Team Members Involved: 18 Total Team Hours: 54

The casualty and his companion were crossing over from Loch Coruisk to Glenbrittle via Beallach Banachdich, on a wet and misty day. They made the beallach but, while trying to find the way down from upper to lower Coirre Banachdich, the casualty fell a short distance suffering a head injury. His companion managed to descend to Glenbrittle to raise the alarm. After being deployed just under the cloud base by the coastguard helicopter the team began a search for the casualty. Just as the team was approaching the casualty the cloudbase lifted allowing the helicopter to winch him off the hill.

Coastguard helicopter over the Cuillin

11. Incident: Party of 2, Lost
Location: Upper Coire Banachdich
Date: 25 June 2008 Time: 1600
No of Team Members Involved: 1
Total Team Hours: 2.5

While out in the hills (doing his day job) guiding, a Team member came across the party who had got lost in misty conditions in Coirre Banachdich. The Team member escorted the party safely back down to Glenbrittle.

12. Incident: Party of 2, Overdue
Location: Glenbrittle
Date: 26 June 2008 Time: 2100
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 4

The party had gone hill walking from Glenbrittle in misty conditions. When they failed to return to Glenbrittle by the planned time, the alarm was raised. They turned up safe and well while the Team leader was assessing whether to call the Team out for a search.

13. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Portree
Date: 16 July 2008 Time: 1100
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 45

The Team was asked to help the emergency services search for a female who had gone missing from an address in Portree. Sadly she took her own life and her body was discovered by a member of the public who informed the Police. The Team then recovered her body.

14. Incident: Fall
Location: Flodigarry, Trotternish
Date: 29 July 2008 Time: 1600
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 4

The casualty and his companion were climbing a route on the sea cliffs at Flodigarry when one of them fell suffering minor injuries. The routes at Flodigarry are only accessible from above via an abseil and after his fall the casualty and his companion were unable to affect a self-rescue. Mountain Rescue was called and the coastguard helicopter was requested. The helicopter winched both climbers off the rockface with 2 team members on stand-by.

Training excercise

15. Incident: Party of 3, Cragfast
Location: An Dorus, Coire a' Mhadaidh
Date: 31 July 2008 Time: 1346
No of Team Members Involved: 5
Total Team Hours: 25

In misty conditions, the party became cragfast above An Dorus and contacted the Team via mobile telephone. The Team ascended to An Dorus located the party and escorted them safely off the hill.

16. Incident: Slip
Location: Lower Coire Lagan, Glenbrittle
Date: 13 August 2008 Time: 1620
No of Team Members Involved: 5 Total Team Hours: 10

A 54 year old female from California slipped and fell over while descending the Coire Lagan footpath. She suffered a broken ankle and was evacuated by the coastguard helicopter. 5 Team members stood-by at the Glenbrittle base while the helicopter completed the rescue.

17. Incident: Person Overdue
Location: South Cuillin
Date: 17 August 2008 Time: 2315
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 14

A solo male was reported overdue just after 11pm after failing to return from a walk in the South Cuillin. The MRT members spent the night trying to establish his route and assessing search strategies for the morning. The missing person walked off the hill at first light after poor planning and navigation had meant he'd had to spend (an unplanned for) night out on the hill.

18. Incident: Party Overdue
Location: Glen Sligachan/Camasunary
Date: 3 September 2008 Time: 2200
No of Team Members Involved: 3 Total Team Hours: 22.5

A party of two were reported overdue in the Glen Sligachan/Camasunary area. After spending some hours that evening assessing the situation the MRT decided that prior to instigating a full team search the MRT landrover would be driven over from Kilmarie to check the bothy at Camasunary first thing the next morning. On their way over to the bothy the MRT came across the missing party who were walking out.

Coastguard winching excercise

19. Incident: Distress Calls Heard/False Alarm
Location: Coir' a Ghrunnda
Date: 1 September 2008 Time: 1150
No of Team Members Involved: 5
Total Team Hours: 25

In misty conditions a party reported hearing distress calls while passing through Coir' a Ghrunnda. 5 MRT members carried out a search of the area which revealed that the incident was a false alarm, the "distress calls" were actually sheep bleating on ledges.

20. Incident: Fall
Location: Gars-Bheinn, Southern Cuillin
Date: 5 September 2008 Time: 1545
No of Team Members Involved: 7 Total Team Hours: 35

While crossing a boulder field on Gars-Bheinn, a 50 year old male stood on a loose boulder. The boulder dislodged causing him to lose his balance and fall approximately 5m. Unfortunately the dislodged boulder fell on top of him causing chest injuries. The MRT was alerted by mobile phone. He was located and evacuated by the Coastguard Helicopter while the MRT stood by at the Glenbrittle base.

21. Incident: Fall
Location: Inaccessible Pinnacle, Sgurr Dearg
Date: 12 September 2008 Time: 1845
No of Team Members Involved: 8 Total Team Hours: 16

A 47 year old male slipped and fell a short distance while attempting to solo the In Pin. He suffered a dislocation of the shoulder. He was evacuated by a Navy Sea King from HMS Gannet which was on exercise in the area at that time. 8 MRT members stood by at the Glenbrittle base.

22. Incident: Party Cragfast
Location: Amphitheatre Arete, Sron na Ciche
Date: 12 September 2008 Time: 2015
No of Team Members Involved: 9 Total Team Hours: 27

A pair of climbers became cragfast after going off-route while attempting the Amphitheatre Arete climb on Sron na Ciche. After attempts were made to reach the pair from the ground, they were winched off the hill by the Navy Sea King after it had evacuated the injured climber from the previous incident to Broadford Hospital.

Training excercise

23. Incident: Party Overdue
Location: Head of Loch Slapin, Strathaird
Date: 18 September 2008 Time: 2100
No of Team Members Involved: 1
Total Team Hours: 2

A party of two had been reported overdue after failing to return to their car by the planned time. They turned up safe and well as the MRT leader was assessing the situation.

24. Incident: Lost
Location: Storr, Trotternish
Date: 7 October 2008 Time: 1440
No of Team Members Involved: 8 Total Team Hours: 16

A party of 2 walkers undertaking a two day walk of the Trotternish Ridge became lost and disorientated in wet and misty conditions on the second day of their trip after a foul night's wild camping. They continued to try to find a way off the hill but, when one of the party started showing early signs of hypothermia and could no longer continue, they contacted the MRT by mobile phone. The MRT members were airlifted to just beneath the cloudbase by the coastguard helicopter and quickly located the party. The party were escorted down the hill and once they were below the cloud base the missing party and the MRT members were evacuated by helicopter.

25. Incident: Slip
Location: Loch Coruisk
Date: 16 October 2008 Time: 1600
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 1

The casualty slipped and broke their ankle while walking at Loch Coruisk. The coastguard helicopter attended and evacuated the casualty to Broadford hospital. The MRT leader stood by, at Glenbrittle base throughout.

26. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Portree Hospital
Date: 26 October 2008 Time: 1500
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 1.5

A patient at Portree hospital had fallen when getting into bed. Although uninjured, she could not get back up and into bed. Due to a lack of available ambulance staff the MRT was asked if it could provide a suitable stretcher to lift the patient back into bed. Always keen to help in any way we can we duly obliged.

Total Voluntary Hours (Not including travelling time) 642 Hours

For a list of call outs in 2012..........  Please click here.

For a list of call outs in 2011..........  Please click here.

For a list of call outs in 2010..........  Please click here.

For a list of call outs in 2009..........  Please click here.

For a list of call outs in 2007..........  Please click here.

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Training at dusk in winter.