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Waterfall in Glenbrittle

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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 2010

Training in winter

In 2010 the number of incidents dealt with was down, by about a third, over the previous two years. That said the 22 incidents we had involved a total of 1,168 voluntary hours.

We started 2010 by returning to Kinloch Forest in Sleat in late January to recover the body of an elderly male walker who had gone missing there the previous October. A rather sombre start to the year but, hopefully it gave his family some closure.

We weren't called out again until early April when we stood-by whilst the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter rescued a man who had fallen to his injury on Sgurr a Mhadhaidh. In early May we had to deal with what was thankfully our only fatality of the year. The casualty, a male in his 70s, had been reported missing from the Sligachan Hotel and with very little information on his likely whereabouts we had started an extensive low level search. In the afternoon the police received a call from a party of climbers reporting that they had found a body on Sgurr nan Gillean and what could have turned into a major search effort was over and we switched into recovery mode.

We had a couple of call outs in late May. The first being to a couple who had become cragfast between Sgurr Dubh Mor and Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn (we would have another call out later in the year to a male in exactly the same predicament). The second was to a man who had fallen off the path leading from the Beallach car park to the Quiraing. He had fallen down a steep gulley and given himself a nasty head wound. Just over a week later, in early June, we were back at the Quiraing. This time a 16 year old boy had fallen while scrambling on the rock feature known as The Prison. He was fortunate to only suffer a broken ankle. On our way home, or rather back to our day jobs, we were called to an abseiling accident near Sligachan.

June continued to be fairly busy with a hill walker who had come to grief while trying to descend the Coire a' Ghrunnda slabs, a lost female hill walker needed assistance descending from the Storr, our second call-out to Sgurr Dubh Mor and a climber who had fallen to his injury on Clach Glas.

July, usually a busy month was very quiet. Our only call out to note was a party of 3 female Belgians who had got into difficulty on the Trotternish Ridge in poor weather conditions.

Training excercise with RAF 137

August was also quiet with only 3 call outs. The first of which was to a female who had broken her ankle while walking between Camusunary and Elgol. Her party had decided not to ask for assistance choosing instead to affect a self-rescue by returning to Elgol, commandeering a ladder which they put to use as an improvised stretcher. Unknown to her party a passer-by had called the emergency services and we turned out anyway only for everything to have been dealt with by the time we got there. Our second August call out was to a pair of poorly equipped young males who had got lost in the mist while doing the Bheinn na Caillaich horseshoe near Broadford. Fortunately the mist retreated momentarily to allow them to regain their bearings and descend safely. The team who were all assembled and ready to go on the hill did not need to be deployed. Our final call out in August was to a party of 3 Irish walkers who had been caught out by the length of the Trotternish Ridge, a problem that was confounded by bad weather and a lack of navigational equipment.

In September we only had one incident on Skye, a fall on Am Bastier. The casualty was dealt with by R100. The team stood by at the Sligachan base in case they were needed and to receive the remainder of the casualty's party who were flown off the hill. Towards the end of the month we also spent a day helping out our neighbouring team, Kintail, with a search for a missing person.

October, usually a quieter month, was as busy as any other in 2010 with 4 call-outs. The first was for a missing person in Sleat who turned up safe and well before the team was deployed in full. The second was to a male who had got stuck on the end of a climbing rope while being lowered down King's Cave Chimney on Am Bastier. R100 deployed 4 team members, winching them down into King's Cave. They were able to free the rope from there and all were flown back off the hill. The third was to twin brothers, in their 30s, who were reported overdue from Elgol. They had set out earlier in the day to walk along the coast to Camusunary and back. Concerns were raised when they were reported to have been seen ascending Blaven in the mid afternoon. They were eventually able to make contact with the emergency services by mobile phone and were located around mid-night in Glen Scaladal. Our fourth call out in October, and our last of 2010, was to a couple who had become trapped on the far side of Coire na Criche after heavy rain had resulted in the burns being in full spate.

The main trend to note in 2010 was an increase in the call outs to parties on the Trotternish Ridge. Perhaps this is a result of the Ridge rising in popularity due to recent publicity? It certainly is a bit of a hidden gem but, it is also a strenuous walk with much ascent and descent. Its position on the western seaboard and elevation also means that it gets more than its fair share of poor weather.

Training in winter

1. Incident: Recovery of Body
Location: Kinloch Forestry Plantation, Isle of Skye
Date: 27 January 2010 Time: 1700
No of Team Members Involved: 11 Team Hours: 77

The casualty had been reported missing in October 2009. Extensive searches revealed no trace (see 2009 incident reports for more information on initial search/missing person). A local Deerstalker came across the body on the afternoon of the 27th January 2010. The team was tasked to recover the body, whilst the remains and locus were photographed by police officers present. The body was recovered via a short stretcher carry, then by Deerstalker's ATV to forest road.

2. Incident: Fall
Location: Sgurr a Mhaidaidh, Central Cuillin
Date: 9 April 2010 Time: 1530
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 24

A group of three were climbing the north ridge when one (a 21yr old male) slipped and fell onto a lower snow slope. He suffered a back injury and some cuts and bruises. His friends summoned help and Skye MRT was alerted. R100 was tasked and went straight to the casualty who was winched aboard and taken to Broadford Hospital. He was released later that day following treatment for minor injuries.

3. Incident: Missing Person/Fall
Location: Tooth Chimney, Sgurr nan Gillean, Northern Cuillin
Date: 10 May 2010 Time: 1030
No of Team Members Involved: 21 Total Team Hours: 200

A 70yr old man staying at the Sligachan Hotel was reported missing when cleaners found that he had not slept in his room. Information from the hotel indicated that he had left, on his own, for a two hour walk at approx 1400hrs the previous day. The team, assisted by R100 carried out a search of potential routes within an hour's walk of the Hotel and checked the Camasunary Bothy and JMC Hut at Coruisk. At 1430hrs the police received a telephone call from a Mountain Guide reporting that he and his clients had discovered a body at the foot of Tooth Chimney. Due to low cloudbase, team members were airlifted to the lochan in Coire a Bhastier, then made their way up the hill to recover the body which was identified as the missing person. Evacuation was carried out to below the cloud base by stretcher then by R100 to Broadford Hospital.

Winching 'Cuillin' the SARDA dog

4. Incident: Party of 2 Cragfast
Location: Sgurr Dubh Mor, Southern Cuillin
Date: 23 May 2010 Time: 2315
No of Team Members Involved: 5 Total Hours: 42

Two walkers (64yr old male, 57yr old female) set off late from Glenbrittle to climb Sgurr Dubh Mor. After summitting they made a navigational error on the descent. When they discovered their error they retraced their steps but, in failing light were unable to find the route back up onto Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn. They elected to stay out overnight but, later decided to ask for assistance. They gave a GR and four team members ascended to the location and walked them off the hill.

5. Incident: Fall
Location: The Quiraing, Trotternish
Date: 26 May 2010 Time: 1400
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 30

The casualty stumbled of the edge of the path and fell approx 25m down into a gulley on the popular footpath from the Bealach car park to the Quiraing. An ambulance was called and they asked for MRT assistance. The ambulance crew attended to the casualty and administered oxygen. The MRT packaged the casualty for evacuation by R100 to Broadford Hospital.

6. Incident: Fall
Location: The Quiraing, Trotternish
Date: 4 June 2010 Time: 1130
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 30

A man and his 16yr old son were scrambling on rocks adjacent to the Quiraing. The son lost his footing and fell approximately 15 metres, landing in a boulder field. Remarkably, his only serious injury was a broken ankle. However a lack of warm clothing meant that the casualty was very cold by the time the team arrived. His ankle was immobilised and he was given pain relief and oxygen. He was then put in an warm casualty bag and carried out to the road and a waiting ambulance by stretcher.

Training in winter

7. Incident: Fall
Location: Allt Dearg Beag, Near Sligachan
Date: 4 June 2010 Time: 1530
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Hours: 45

A man in his 50s was practicing abseiling into the gorge. Something went wrong and he fell approx 4m to the burn bed below. He suffered a suspected broken pelvis. Team members attended on foot and prepared the casualty for evacuation by R100 which winched him out from the bottom of the gorge.

8. Incident: Fall
Location: Coire' a' Ghrunnda, Southern Cuillin
Date: 6 June 2010 Time: 1945
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 56

The casualty (a 57yr old man) and his companion were descending Coie' a' Ghrunnda. They went off route ending up on the east side of the burn on the 'boiler plate' slabs. The casualty slipped on a wet section causing him to slide/fall approx 15m into the bed of the burn. His companion descended to Glenbrittle to raise the alarm and the team was called out. Members were deployed by R100 and the casualty was immobilised, packaged and stretchered a short distance to a position where he could be winched and flown to Broadford Hospital.

9. Incident: Lost Walker
Location: The Storr, Trotternish
Date: 9 June 2010 Time: 2315
No of Team Members Involved: 4 Total Team Hours: 7

A 61yr old woman was walking on the Trotternish Ridge. She intended descending from the Storr via Bealach Beag but, in fading light she missed the Bealach and raised the alarm via her mobile phone. She then continued south along the ridge until she came to Bealach Mor and began to descend. When team members arrived they spotted her head torch, now on the moor, and went out to meet her and walked her off the hill.

Rescue 137

10. Incident: Cragfast
Location: Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, Southern Cuillin
Date: 16 June 2010 Time: 2015
No of Team Members Involved: 5 Total Hours: 19

In misty conditions a 58yr old man left his rucksack, containing his map and compass on Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and headed out to climb Sgurr Dubh Mor armed with only his GPS. On his return he couldn't find the way back up onto Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn. Thinking he should traverse rather than re-ascend he became cragfast and raised the alarm via mobile phone giving a grid reference of his position. The team leader gave the man instructions as to how to get back to the summit of Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn, whilst team members set off for the man's last known position. A short time later the man contacted the team again to advise he was now back with his rucksack and the mist appeared to be lifting. He was given instructions on the route to take to descend to Lochan Coir a' Ghrunnda. The man was located near the waterfall in upper Coir a' Ghrunnda. Team members ascended the short scramble to the west side of the waterfall, made contact with the man and accompanied him off the mountain.

11. Incident: Fall
Location: Clach Glas, Strathaird
Date: 18 June 2010 Time: 1130
No of Team Members Involved: 7 Total Team Hours: 25

Two men in their 20s were scrambling on Clach Glas when one fell approx 10m and suffered a serious lower leg injury. R100 uplifted team members on route to the incident but, due to a lack of space at the incident location, they were not deployed onto the hill. The casualty's leg was splinted by the winchman and he was then airlifted to hospital.

12. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Glenbrittle Campsite
Date: 10 July 2010 Time: 2200
No of Team Members Involved: 2 Total Team Hours: 6

A man took off up the hill from the campsite following an argument with others. When he hadn't returned after two hours his companions raised the alarm. Team members were placed on standby but the man returned to the campsite at 0100hrs.

Rescue 100

13. Incident: Party of 3 Overdue/Lost
Location: The Storr, Trotternish
Date: 11 July 2010 Time: 2330
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Hours: 64

Three female walkers from Belgium (20yrs, 22yrs and 23yrs old) left Flodigarry at 0900hrs to walk the ridge. As nightfall approached they contacted the Police for assistance as the weather had deteriorated markedly. Unsure of their location, they were soaked through and running low on supplies. The team leader managed to contact them via mobile and advised them to camp where they were and descend at daybreak. They were forced to spend the night on the hill and were met and escorted off the hill by team members the following morning. All three walkers were adequately equipped for the conditions.

14. Incident: Fall
Location: Elgol to Camasunary Coastal Path, Strathaird
Date: 3 August 2010 Time: 1300
No of Team Members Involved: 12 Total Team Hours: 37

A woman walking on the path from Elgol to Camasunary fell and suffered a broken ankle. Members of her party (15 in total) effected a self rescue by returning to Elgol to borrow a ladder to use as a stretcher. Another person, independent from the group, raised the alarm. Team members met the group and the casualty just as they arrived at a waiting ambulance.

15. Incident: Party of 2 Lost
Location: Beinn Dearg Bheag, Strathaird
Date: 12 August 2010 Time: 1930
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 38

Two 20yr old men were climbing the Beinn na Callich horseshoe when cloud descended. Neither of them had a map or compass. On descent, they became unsure of their position and concerned for their safety. They raised the alarm and as they were unable to give a clear indication of their position, a full team call out was initiated. As the team assembled at Torrin, a brief lifting of the cloud base permitted the pair to get a glimpse of the lower ground. After describing what they had seen to the team leader, their possible location was narrowed down and the team assembled at Strath Suardal. Just as a dog handler was setting off, the men contacted the team again to advise that they were now below the cloud base, could see their car, and didn't actually need help. They were met at their car by the local policeman and the Team Leader.

Signal flare for Rescue 100

16. Incident: Party of 3 Lost
Location: Bealach Hartaval, Trotternish Ridge
Date: 16 August 2010 Time: 2000
No of Team Members Involved: 14 Total Hours: 68

A party of two women and a man, all in their 30s, set off from Duntulm at 0630hrs to attempt the Trotternish Ridge. The weather forecast was poor and the party only had photocopied sections of a guidebook for a map. As the light was fading the party realised they were not going to reach their B&B in Portree. They called the team with information they were at Bealach a' Chuirn and asked for advice on how to descend via Corrie Scamadal. They were informed this could be a tricky descent, particularly as their exact location was unknown. Instead, they were advised to follow a SW bearing and descend via either Glen Haultin or Romesdal, depending on what Bealach they were actually on. A dog handler set off up Glen Haultin, followed by a party of five team members. Another member ascended Romesdal on an ATV followed by another five members on foot. The party was eventually located in upper Romesdal at approximately 2130hrs and escorted off the hill.

17. Incident: Fall
Location: Am Bastier, Northern Cuillin
Date: 25 September 2010 Time: 1730
No of Team Members Involved: 17 Total Team Hours: 51

The casualty fell suffering a compound fractured to his lower right leg. His party raised the alarm via mobile telephone and the rescue services were called out. An elderly member of the party became very cold during the evacuation. R100 evacuated him with the casualty to Broadford Hospital. R100 returned and evacuated the remainder of the party to Sligachan base. The team remainded on standby at Sligachan until all members of the party were safely off the hill.

Inside Rescue 100

18. Incident: Missing Person/Fatality
Location: Meall a Bhealaich, Kintail
Date: 29 September 2010 Time: 0630
No of Team Members Involved: 16 Total Hours: 224

A 52yr old male walker was last seen at his accommodation (Great Glen Water Park) on Tuesday 21st Sept. He was reported missing on Saturday 25th when he failed to check out. He had left no route plan but was known as a hill walker climbing Munros. His car was discovered late on Tuesday 28th in a little used car park at Dorusduain Forest in Kintail. A search was mounted at first light on Wednesday 29th by Kintail MRT, SARDA, Police handlers and R100. The search area was narrowed by information from the man's digs showing Munros he had not climbed in the area and that those maps were missing from a collection of printed maps in his digs. Searching stopped overnight and resumed at first light on 30th with 40 extra personnel from RAF Kinloss, Glenelg and Skye MRTs and 8 SARDA dogs. All options within the search area were explored by ground troops, dogs and from the air. Additional areas were also checked as being options in bad weather in case he had changed his mind about doing a Munro on arriving at the car park. The search was put on hold at 1800hrs on the 30th with the commitment to resume if more information was received. Additional searches were carried out by Kintail, Kinloss and Dundonnel MRTs during subsequent training exercises. Members of Kintail MRT eventually found the man's body close to the Bealach an Sgaine (NH012213).

19. Incident: Local Incident
Location: Dalabhil Bothy, Sleat
Date: 3 October 2010 Time: 2040
No of Team Members Involved: 15 Total Team Hours: 9

A man was reported missing intent on self harm The team was asked to assist the Coastguard by searching the area around the bothy. The man was located whilst the team were en route.

RAF R137

20. Incident: Cragfast
Location: King's Cave Chimney, Am Bastier, Northern Cuillin
Date: 10 October 2010 Time: 1640
No of Team Members Involved: 14 Total Hours: 35

Two men in their 40s were descending from the Am Bastier Tooth via King's Cave Chimney. The second had not abseiled before so, the leader elected to abseil down first leaving his second to tie into one end of the rope for lowering. After a few metres of the lower the rope jammed in the chimney crack leaving the second man stuck on the end of the rope. The leader was unable to exit the system and effect a self-rescue and the team was called. R100 lifted three team members deploying them by winch into King's Cave before returning for more team members. They were able to free the rope allowing the man to be lowered.

21. Incident: Party of 2 Overdue
Location: Glen Scaladal, Strathaird
Date: 16 October 2010 Time: 2000
No of Team Members Involved: 14 Total Team Hours: 63

Two 37yr old twin brothers were reported missing by one of the party's wife when they failed to return from a walk to Camusunary by nightfall and the Coastguard were called out. R100 searched the route with their heat detection system but found nothing. At this point the MRT were asked to assist whilst R100 proceeded to check the bothies at Camusunary at Coruisk. There were two people at one of these. It was established that they were not the missing persons but, had spoken to them when on the south ridge of Bla Bheinn. The missing persons had advised that they intended to climb Blaven, descend to Loch Slappin and return to Elgol via the road. R100 carried out an air search of Bla Bheinn before returning to Stornoway. R137 was then tasked and the MRT stoodby for deployment via R137. At 2245hrs one of the missing persons contacted their wife to advise that they were at NG523200. They were then evacuated by R100.

Training with RAF R137

22. Incident: Rising River
Location: Coire na Creiche, Glenbrittle
Date: 28 October 2010 Time: 1730
No of Team Members Involved: 6 Total Hours: 18

A couple set of to walk round the Tairnealear loop before mid-day but on their return at around 1545, after heavy rain, they were unable to cross the burn at the stepping stones below the Fairy pools. They walked up and down the Allt a Mhaim looking for a crossing place. The man realised that they would have to go back up near the Bealach to cross but by then his wife was too tired to continue. They called for help by mobile at around 1715. They were found safe & well by 6 team members at 1900 and were lead back to the road after two burn crossings by 2000.

Total Voluntary Hours (Not including travelling time) 1,168 Hours

For a list of call outs in 2014..........  Please click here.

For a list of call outs in 2013..........  Please click here.

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 2009..........  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.

The coastguard helicopter winching a casualty at night.

The coastguard helicopter R100 winching a casualty at night.