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KINTAIL MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM

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HISTORY

During the 1950s and early 1960s a group composed largely of shepherds, stalkers, foresters and the like, formed a rescue unit in Kintail and Glenshiel to help those in trouble on the local hills. By the mid sixties, records show that the Kintail Mountain Rescue Unit was an established rescue organisation with appointed office bearers. The local topography, which is characterised by large areas of consistently steep ground and well-defined ridges, is of a particularly demanding nature. Even in the earliest times the team was involved in challenging work in all seasons and at all altitudes, sometimes involving avalanches.

The Kintail Lodge Hotel (a Red Cross aid post) provided space to store equipment as far back as the fifties and this continued, on and off, for many years. There is a record of a MR Post at Morvich from the mid sixties, but this did not truly become the team's base until later. Morvich is also the scene of the team's long association with the National Trust for Scotland.

In the late sixties and early seventies, new closer relationships were forged between police and civilians in mountain rescue. Ross and Sutherland Constabulary advised on formal procedures and provided some equipment. This period saw several climbers joining the team, bringing with them a more technical approach.

As the growth in the popularity of mountaineering gathered pace through the seventies and eighties it brought an increase in the number of incidents. The eighties saw another influx of recreational mountaineers to the area and to the team. Press and television attention increased and the team appeared in both an entertainment programme and a grim documentary.

The early nineties saw several plans come to fruition. Extensive preparations to deal with potential incidents at the Falls of Glomach were completed. Money was raised to buy a four-wheel-drive ambulance. Further fund-raising boosted the purse to allow the team to extend the existing MR post at Morvich to include a garage, a storage area and a briefing area. During the same period, a walks booklet was written and soon became a valuable part of the teams fund-raising efforts.

The team's first vehicle has since been replaced by a Landrover and then a second Landrover. The team also has two trailers.  One Landrover was replaced by a new one funded by the Order of St John in 2013 and in 2014 theTeam is exploring options for refurbishment of the second Landrover.

The team actively participates in the work of Scottish Mountain Rescue at national level. Team members participate in meetings of the General Committee, attend training events and participate in the development of first aid, radio, funding and aeronautical support. The Team expects to follow Scottish Mountain Rescue along the constitutional route of Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). 

The team has long harboured the ambition of building a new rescue base. The money required for this purpose is well beyond the normal funding levels of the team. Additional fund-raising and a benevolent partner will be required for success. Small Iimprovements to facilities at Morvich continue to be undertaken.

In 2014, the team is developing a White Water Rescue capability that will enable team member to enter wild mountain rivers safely when this is necessary for search or rescue.

A typical workload for the team is around nine substantial callouts per year, though this can drop to two or rise to sixteen. Team strength is usually between twenty and twenty-five members.

Ⓒ Kintail Mountain Rescue Association 2014

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