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

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Call Outs/Incidents 2009

Training in winter

After a quiet 2008 this year was a fairly busy one for the team. We had a total of 36 incidents involving a total of 1,725 voluntary hours.

Unlike many of the mainland teams, winter is usually a quiet time of year for us. So having to deal with two incidents in January may have been a sign of what was to come later in the year. After January's two incidents things quietened down until Easter when there were three incidents. The most serious of which was a scrambler who was struck by a falling rock on Sgurr Dubh Mor in the southern Cuillin.

After Easter we had another quiet period until the season kicked off properly in early May, with a female climber who was injured falling off the Inaccessible Pinnacle. We were kept busy from then all the way through to late August when things quietened down again at the end of the summer season. Unfortunately, during this spell, three people lost their lives after falls in the Black Cuillin and another man suffered a fatal fall from sea cliffs near Portree.

In early October we had our biggest missing person search for a number of years, after an elderly gentleman went missing from his hotel in Sleat. This was a multi-day and multi-team search with, in addition to ourselves, SARDA, Kintail MRT, Glenelg MRT, Kinloss MRT, Police Dog Section and the local Coastguards all involved. We would like to express our thanks for all these teams' assistance. Unfortunately we were unable to locate the missing man.

Over the course of 2009 we were involved in the rescue of a further 10 people with serious injuries and 5 with minor injuries. Most of these incidents occurred in the Black Cuillin but, again, the popular paths at the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing in Trotternish both claimed a broken ankle each. It is worth noting that of the 10 serious injuries, 5 were attributable to loose or falling rocks. Please beware of this when heading into the Cuillin, especially this year, 2010. As after the severe frosts this winter, there is bound be a lot of loose stuff about.

We rounded 2009's incidents off in late October with a search for a man from Inverness and his dog who had lost their way after getting clagged in on Sgurr Dubh Mor forcing them to overnight on the hill. Apparently the chap in question and his dog had recently been on the local TV news as his dog had recently become first official canine Munro compleater. He was a bit embarrassed to have to be rescued so soon after being held in such high acclaim. At least this time pride never came before a fall, just a miserable night on the Cuillin! A full summary of all incidents and call outs for 2009 are listed below;

Training in winter

1. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Ollisdale Bothy, Glendale
Date: 24 January 2009 Time: 1200
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 3.5

The local Police had received information that a missing person was staying at Ollisdale Bothy. We were asked to accompany two police dog handlers to the bothy. A team member who lived nearby and knows the area well assisted the Police as requested. The missing person was traced.

2. Incident: Party of 2 Overdue
Location: Corrie a' Bastier, Northern Cuillin
Date: 26 January 2009 Time: 0800
No of Team Members Involved: 11 Total Team Hours: 22

The party had set off to climb Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr nan Gillean on the 24th. The conditions deteriorated on the 24th forcing them to spend an unplanned-for night out on the hill. Although the night out was unplanned, they were adequately equipped for it and intended to make their own way off in the morning. If anything, conditions worsened the following day meaning that they were unable to make a full descent. They raised the alarm during their second night out and the team attended early on the 26th ready to go to their assistance. Thankfully a break in the weather allowed R100 to pick the party up and return them to our base at Sligachan. After a few warming cups of tea and a debrief they were able to head home none the worse for their ordeal.

3. Incident: Scrambler hit by falling rock
Location: Sgurr Dubh Mor, Southern Cuillin
Date: 12 April 2009 Time: 1500
No of Team Members Involved: 6 Total Team Hours: 12

While near the summit of Sgurr Dubh Mor, one of a party of four scramblers dislodged a rock which fell striking another member of the party to his injury. The weather was good allowing R100 to evacuate the casualty from the hill while the six attending team members stood by at the Glenbrittle base in case their assistance was needed. The casualty was taken to the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford for treatment.

Training in winter

4. Incident: Party of 2 Overdue
Location: Integrity, Sron na Ciche, Southern Cuillin
Date: 12 April 2009 Time: 2000
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 9

Two climbers were reported overdue after setting off from Glenbrittle earlier in the day to tackle the Integrity route on Sron na Ciche. They eventually turned up at 5:00am, nine hours later than planned. The MRT leader remained on standby throughout.

5. Incident: Person Overdue
Location: Northern Cuillin
Date: 13 April 2009 Time: 1900
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 3

One member of a party of eight hill walkers decided to descend earlier than the rest of his party leaving them to continue their day. When the party returned to Sligachan there was no sign of their companion and the alarm was raised. With the assistance of the MRT leader the missing member of the party was traced before a full team call out and search was instigated.

6. Incident: Fall
Location: Inaccessible Pinnacle, Sgurr Dearg, Central Cuillin
Date: 05 May 2009 Time: 1310
No of Team Members Involved: 17 Total Team Hours: 119

While attempting to lead a climb of the short side of the In Pin, a young woman slipped on the final slabby section and fell into the scree gully on the East side of the In Pin. She suffered several injuries including a head injury and a suspected broken arm. The alarm was raised by mobile phone and the team and R100 were called out. Due to the low cloud the team was deployed by R100 beside Lochan Corrie Lagan and ascended the An Stac Screes to the scene. The casualty was immobilised and "packaged" for evacuation by stretcher. A brief improvement in the weather was forecast so the MRT leader elected to take the casualty down by the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg rather than the easier An Stac Screes route. This proved a wise move as the cloud lifted as the team approached the area above Window Buttress allowing R100 to land on and pick up the casualty as the rest of the hills remained in the cloud. Shortly after R100 had left the cloud came in again.

Training in winter

7. Incident: Hill Walking Incident
Location: Allt na Measarroch, Glen Sligachan
Date: 06 May 2009 Time: 1731
No of Team Members Involved: 9 Total Team Hours: 13.5

A party of three Dutch men had set off from the bothy at Camusunary to walk through to Sligachan. When they reached the Allt na Measarroch, or Marsco Burn, they found it in spate due to recent heavy rainfall. They called for assistance and the MRT and R100 attended. They were airlifted from the far side of the burn to Sligachan base by R100 as nine team members stood by at Sligachan.

8. Incident: Fatal Fall
Location: Am Basteir, Northern Cuillin
Date: 18 May 2009 Time: 1420
No of Team Members Involved: 18 Total Team Hours: 108

A 31 year old man from the north of England was scrambling up from the Tooth to the summit of Am Basteir when he slipped and fell. He came to rest on a ledge on the Lota Corrie side of the hill, not far from the break in the face that forms the Lota Corrie Route. He did not survive the fall and the MRT and R100 attended to recover his body. Given the terrain, being half way down a very steep section of rock, it was too steep for the helicopter's winch to access, this proved to be a fairly technical evacuation.

9. Incident: Fall
Location: Bealach Coir an Lochain, Southern Cuillin
Date: 18 May 2009 Time: 1430
No of Team Members Involved: 3 Total Team Hours: 9

As the previous incident was being dealt with, reports came in that a female had fallen, breaking her wrist, in the vicinity of Bealach Coir an Lochain. One team member left the Sligachan base to man the Glenbrittle base and when able to do so R100 broke off the previous incident and, after refuelling at Plockton airstrip went to the location, with two MRT on board to locate and evacuate the casualty. On arrival at the scene it became apparent that the casualty had left the scene and radio communication with Glenbrittle base confirmed that the casualty had been able to walk off the hill and was being taken to Broadford hospital by her party. R100 and the MRT members involved returned to help the incident on Am Basteir

Training excercise with RAF 137

10. Incident: Fall
Location: Sgurr nan Eag, Southern Cuillin
Date: 19 May 2009 Time: 0830
No of Team Members Involved: 16 Total Team Hours: 136

The casualty had set off with his companions to attempt a traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. They reached Sgurr nan Eag where they went off route. As the casualty rounded a block the block gave way causing the casualty to fall approximately 30m. He suffered serious injuries including a fractured pelvis and punctured lung. The MRT was deployed below the cloud base by R100 and ascended to the incident location, stabilised the casualty and stretchered him down to Coir a' Ghrunnda where R100 was able to get in below the cloud base and evacuate him to Broadford Hospital.

11. Incident: Hill Walking Incident
Location: Quiraing, Trotternish, North Skye
Date: 20 May 2009 Time: 1900
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 4

A party of four set out for a walk from the car park at the Bealach to the Quiraing. After exploring what the Quiraing had to offer they decided to return to their car. One of the party, who had the car keys but no map or compass, decided to return by making an ascent of Meall na Suiramach. He lost his way in the mist and after waiting for some time beside their car for him to return, the rest of his party raised the alarm. Thankfully he turned up safe and well a couple of hours later before a full team call-out got underway.

12. Incident: Person Overdue
Location: Camusunary/Blaven, Strathaird
Date: 25 May 2009 Time: 0800
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 2

A hill walker had set off from Kilmarie for Camusunary Bothy on the 23rd planning to stay the night there and then climb Blaven on the 24th. The alarm was raised on the morning of the 25th after he had failed to return by his planned time. He turned up safe and well before a full team call-out was instigated.

13. Incident: Person Overdue
Location: Loch Coruisk/Dubh Slabs
Date: 28 May 2009 Time: 2100
No of Team Members Involved: 1 Total Team Hours: 5

A hill walker had set off from Kilmarie to walk in to Loch Coruisk, climb Sgurr Dubh Mor via the Dubh Slabs route and return to Kilmarie. By most standards this is a long day out. She got lost in misty conditions and was reported overdue after failing to return by late evening. As the team leader assessed the situation planning a full team call-out and search for the following day the missing hill walker had managed to find her way back to Kilmarie at 0200hrs on the 29th.

Winter training exercise

14. Incident: Fall
Location: Bealach Coir an Lochan, Southern Cuillin
Date: 28 May 2009 Time: 0810
No of Team Members Involved: 17 Total Team Hours: 59.5

The casualty slipped and fell onto his outstretched arm, causing him to dislocate his shoulder. The team turned out to the Glenbrittle base and were air lifted to a position just below the cloud base by R100. The team located the casualty, immobilised him and carried him down by stretcher to a position below the cloud base where R100 could pick him up. He was evacuated to Broadford Hospital for treatment.

15. Incident: Crushed Fingers
Location: Sgurr Thormaid , Central Cuillin
Date: 01 June 2009 Time: 1445
No of Team Members Involved: 7 Total Team Hours: 14

While descending a scree slope the casualty dislodged a boulder which crushed her fingers against another rock. This caused serious damage to her affected fingers and R100 was scrambled so that she could receive medical attention as soon as possible. The weather conditions allowed R100 to evacuate the casualty from the hill without our assistance. The team stood by at Glenbrittle base while R100 completed the rescue.

16. Incident: Stumble
Location: Quiraing, Trotternish
Date: 01 June 2009 Time: 1815
No of Team Members Involved: 5 Total Team Hours: 5

A woman walking alone stumbled on the Quiraing footpath. She suffered a broken ankle. A cyclist passing on the nearby public road heard her cries for help and raised the alarm. R100 was scrambled and for the second time that day was able to carry out the rescue while the team stood by in case they were needed to assist.

17. Incident: Slip
Location: Old Man of Storr, Trotternish
Date: 06 June 2009 Time: 1100
No of Team Members Involved: 6 Total Team Hours: 12

A male hill walker slipped breaking his leg. The team and R100 attended. The team ascended the footpath to the casualty's location immobilised his broken leg and prepared him for evacuation by R100 who had also been scrambled. He was air lifted to Broadford Hospital by R100.

Training excercise

18. Incident: Party of 6 Overdue
Location: Glenbrittle Campsite
Date: 09 June 2009 Time: 2200
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 2

A party of six were reported overdue by fellow campers when they had failed to return to their tent by 2200. It was quickly realised that the incident was a false alarm as they turned up safe and well shortly after having spent an intended long day on the Cuillin.

19. Incident: Whistles Heard/False Alarm
Location: Coir' a Tairneilear, Northern Cuillin
Date: 10 June 2009 Time: 1200
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 60

A family group walking in Coire na Criche heard a rock fall then what they believed to be distress whistles coming from Coir' a Tairneilear . The team and R100 attended with R100 deploying the team at various positions on the ridge before carrying out an air search. A full search of the area revealed no sign of an incident, although another party did confirm that there had been a rockfall. The incident was a false alarm but, with good intent.

20. Incident: Fall
Location: Coir a' Ghrunnda , Southern Cuillin
Date: 13 June 2009 Time: 1500
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 4

A woman fell suffering minor injuries. One of her party raised the alarm but it soon became clear that her injuries were not very serious and that she could make her own way off the hill. Two team members remained on stand-by until she returned.

Training excercise

21. Incident: Fall
Location: Allt Na Dunaiche Waterfalls, Strathaird
Date: 23 June 2009 Time: 1730
No of Team Members Involved: 4 Total Team Hours: 8

While exploring the waterfalls a young male slipped on some rocks near the water's edge falling heavily on his side. He suffered a broken pelvis. The team and R100 attended, with the team stabilising the casualty and preparing him for evacuation by R100. He was airlifted by R100 to Broadford Hospital for treatment.

22. Incident: Fatal Fall
Location: Am Basteir, Northern Cuillin
Date: 26 June 2009 Time: 1440
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 36

The casualty was one of a party of four who were trying to traverse the head wall of Coire a' Bhasteir on a broad ledge. The casualty stumbled and tripped, falling of the ledge and down the remainder off the headwall, coming to rest at the top of the scree slope beneath. He did not survive the fall. R100 was scrambled and the team was deployed to record the scene and prepare the body for evacuation. The rest of the party were escorted down to the corrie floor where R100 landed allowing them to be air lifted back to Sligachan base.

23. Incident: Fall
Location: Coir a' Chaoruinn, Coruisk
Date: 02 July 2009 Time: 0005
No of Team Members Involved: 18 Total Team Hours: 90

The casualty's party had alerted the team at 0005 on 2 July that they had been be-nighted after setting out to do the Dubhs Ridge on Sgur Dubh Mor. The route and route finding had been more difficult than they had anticipated and they had run out of light. In the morning they started off to descend into Coruisk. Early in the descent the casualty slipped on a wet slabby section falling approximately 75m and causing her to suffer a number of serious injuries, including breaking both femurs. The team was deployed by R100 and the casualty was located, immobilised and carried on a stretcher to a position below the cloud where she could be air lifted by R100 to hospital.

Cuillin the SARDA dog on RAF 137

24. Incident: Stumble
Location: Eas Mor, Glenbrittle
Date: 13 July 2009 Time: 1200
No of Team Members Involved: 4 Total Team Hours: 8

The casualty stumbled, suffering a broken ankle, while descending the footpath just above the Eas Mor waterfall. The team attended putting her leg in a splint and carrying her on a stretcher the short distance to the public road to a waiting ambulance.

25. Incident: Person Overdue
Location: Glenbrittle
Date: 22 July 2009 Time: 0715
No of Team Members Involved: 13 Total Team Hours: 55.25

The subject set off from Kilmarie with his dog the previous day to walk into Loch Coruisk via the Bad Step and then over Bealach Glaic Moire to Glenbrittle. He had arranged to meet up with his wife in Glenbrittle. When he failed to turn up that evening the alarm was raised and the team began a search the following morning. It transpired that the subject's dog had refused to ascend the steep ground leading to the Bealach so he retreated and headed for Sligachan instead. He ran out of light and slept out on the hill before returning to Sligachan in the morning at which point the search was called off.

26. Incident: Fatal Fall
Location: An Tom, Ben Tianavaig, Braes
Date: 06 August 2009 Time: 1205
No of Team Members Involved: 8 Total Team Hours: 20

The casualty, a German geologist, slipped on a grassy slope above some sea cliffs. He fell over the edge of the cliffs onto the shore below. He did not survive the fall. A tourist on a boat trip witnessed the fall and the boat's skipper raised the alarm. Portree Lifeboat and the local Coastguard team attended and recovered the body. The team were asked by the Police to go to the location where the casualty had fallen from and recover any belongings that may have been left and to provide a report on their return as to how the accident might have occurred.

RAF 137

27. Incident: Party of Three Cragfast
Location: Sgurr a' Mhadaidh, Central Cuillin
Date: 08 August 2009 Time: 0900
No of Team Members Involved: 13 Total Team Hours: 78

A party of three males had set off on 7 August to do a two day traverse of the Black Cuillin Ridge. The weather on the 7th was fine and they made good progress before settling down as night fell for a bivouac under a clear sky. When they awoke on the 8th the clag had come in and they were unable to find their way either forwards or backwards along the Ridge. They contacted the team by mobile phone and advised that they were cragfast on Sgurr na Banachdich. After carrying out a route search they were located on Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and were led off the hill.

28. Incident: Fatal Fall
Location: East Flank of Sgurr nan Gillean, Northern Cuillin
Date: 17 August 2009 Time: 1115
No of Team Members Involved: 17 Total Team Hours: 42.5

Two young French backpackers had been on the tourist path leading to Sgurr nan Gillean's South East ridge. They decided to descend into Glen Sligachan to look for a place to camp. While descending broken ground one of them slipped and fell over a 5m drop. He suffered fatal injuries in the fall although he was still conscious when his companion left him to run back to Sligachan to raise the alarm. The team and R100 attended. R100 airlifted the, by then unconscious, casualty to Broadford hospital. He was transferred to the Southern General in Glasgow but did not survive his injuries. On returning from Broadford Hospital R100 deployed two team members who recovered the pair's rucksacks from the hill.

29. Incident: Dislocated Knee
Location: Sligachan to Braes Footpath, Braes
Date: 23 August 2009 Time: 1240
No of Team Members Involved: 5 Total Team Hours: 10

Shortly after setting off on a walk along the north shore of Loch Sligachan, from Braes to Sligachan, the casualty slipped while crossing a burn. She dislocated her fibula and had to be evacuated. The team were called out and on finding the casualty very close to the shore decided to return to Braes to commandeer a small boat to effect the evacuation.

Winter Training

30. Incident: Flash Flooding
Location: Sligachan to Braes Footpath, Sligachan
Date: 23 August 2009 Time: 1440
No of Team Members Involved: 3 Total Team Hours: 10

Members of the casualty in the previous incident's party continued with their walk to Sligachan when a torrential downpour caused localised flash flooding. Faced with a burn in spate in each direction they called for assistance. Three team members attended and led them to a safe crossing point further upstream.

31. Incident: Flash Flooding
Location: Coire na Criche, Glenbrittle
Date: 23 August 2009 Time: 1605
No of Team Members Involved: 19 Total Team Hours: 66.5

A family party, of three adults and two young boys had set out on a walk to the Fairy Pools. When the torrential rain started they turned and headed back to their car. When they reached the Allt a' Mhaim they found it was already in full spate and unsafe to cross. By ascending upstream to find a better crossing point, one of the adults managed to get back to their car and the alarm was raised. The team set off to the party's last known position, having to take a detour through a forestry plantation to avoid crossing another burn in spate. The team escorted the party upstream to a safe crossing point and walked them back to their car, with some piggy backs thrown in for the kids.

32. Incident: Rock Fall
Location: Sgurr nan Gillean, Northern Cuillin
Date: 24 August 2009 Time: 1340
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 33

While ascending the tourist route up the south east ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean a twelve year old boy was struck by a falling rock which knocked him off his feet resulting in a fall of approximately 20m. He suffered serious injuries including a life threatening head wound. Thankfully the weather was clear and R100 was able to locate, immobilise and evacuate the casualty relatively quickly. He was taken to Broadford Hospital and then on to the Southern General in Glasgow. The team stood by at the Sligachan base while R100 carried out the rescue.

Walking in the Cuillin

33. Incident: Party of Two Overdue
Location: Glenbrittle
Date: 28 September 2009 Time: 1800
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 4

A party of two were reported overdue after failing to return to Glenbrittle after setting off from there for a day's hill walking. As two team members were investigating the incident and assessing how best to deal with the situation the party turned up safe and well. Their route had taken them longer than they had anticipated.

34. Incident: Missing Person
Location: Kinloch Forest, Sleat
Date: 02 October 2009 Time: 1900
No of Team Members Involved: 21 Total Team Hours: 588

An elderly man failed to return to his hotel after having set out for a pre-dinner walk around the Leitir Fura Forest trail. A search by the team, local coastguards, R100 and police dog handlers was quickly organised and searching continued well into the night. No trace was found that night and the search resumed the next day. The team continued searching over the next few days, with assistance from the Kintail, Glenelg and RAF Kinloss teams and again the following weekend but, with no sign of the missing person the search was reluctantly called off.

35. Incident: Body Recovery
Location: Camasunary, Strathaird
Date: 13 October 2009 Time: 1200
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 10

A person walking the footpath between Elgol and Camusunary reported finding the body of a man in a wet suit on the shoreline at the east of Camusunary. The police asked for the team's assistance and two team members set off over the hill in the team landrover. The body was located and recovered from the hill.

View of the Cuillin

36. Incident: Person Lost
Location: Coir a' Ghrunnda, Southern Cuillin
Date: 28 October 2010 Time: 0630
No of Team Members Involved: 16 Total Team Hours: 64

The subject had set out with his dog to climb Sgurr nan Eag and Sgurr Dubh Mor. In misty conditions, he went off route on the return from the summit of Sgurr Dubh Mor and after spending some time trying to correct his mistake realised that he would have to spend the night out on the hill. He was well equipped for this eventuality. His wife raised the alarm when he had failed to contact her by the agreed time. The team set out on a search first thing the next morning getting a lift across the moor by R100 to speed up the deployment. The subject was quickly located near the Lochan and the team and the subject were all airlifted back to the Glenbrittle base.

Total Voluntary Hours (Not including travelling time) 1,725.5 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 2008..........  Please click here.

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

winter training

Training in winter.