It has been another eventful couple of weeks since the last blog, with the most significant news being that I have been accepted to join the Killin Mountain Rescue Team!
This is really exciting for me: I love the mountains and enjoy spending time there.
It is a good day when I can take people with me and lead them in our wild environments to facilitate their appreciation of it too. I can now add to the list the chance to help those in need that have become stuck and, hopefully, bring them home safely to explore again another day. I’m excited to get to know a new group of people and share some wild experiences with them and all the other adventures too.
At the moment it feels a bit weird to call myself a member, as I have only been to one evening training session and the 50th anniversary social. But more training will happen and then there’ll be the first call-out.
I’m not on the call-out list yet; I need to go to more training sessions and the next one is on 19 September. I can’t wait! Having said that, the last (and my first) training night was on equal parts great and horrific.
We were doing some rope training, setting up anchors and having an abseil. To get there, Phil and I met Lisa at the base in Killin and we drove the rest of the way in the Land Rover. Very exciting.
When we got there, it was a lovely evening and we set out across the field to the crag when I discovered that it was more bog than field and promptly became the proud owner of two wet feet! I carried on regardless and set about learning people’s names and practicing some anchor set ups.
The next downside started to appear. I was prepared, but the Scottish midge is a nuisance whenever it appears. The balance between good visibility (especially when darkness fell) and a midge-free face was a struggle for the rest of the evening. It was my time to abseil and although I was fighting a huge amount of friction I, for once, wasn’t fighting a fear of heights! It was great to meet some new people and finally get stuck in.
We have also had a chance to practice some rescues at work. Dave W took the instructors down to the harbour to try some unconventional boat rescues. The challenge was to see if we could rescue a canoe from a kayak and a kayak from a canoe. It was something we had talked about for a while and Dave specifically wanted to push it to the extremes, so borrowed Dave Nelson’s playboat.
We had a lot of fun and learnt a lot too. For example, the Katana kayak we have is almost the same size as a canoe and easy to perform rescues from. Phil even managed to stand up in it and curl rescue a canoe!
Then there is the playboat/canoe rescue. This is a difficult one to pull off and provides entertainment for those watching and great satisfaction when completed successfully. It was good fun to play about with the team before a week of sessions.
On the Wednesday I had a day off before I needed to be at Ardgour to help with a kitchen shift. I did plan to go for a bike ride but rain put me off. I did get to spend some time with the TI’s before they finished for the year and Tom and Anna Sibbald were there as well. As I travelled home on Friday I witnessed some extraordinary views all the way through Glencoe and over Rannoch moor. But only stopped to take this picture before I left the peninsula on the Corran ferry.
Since then I’ve been on canoe adventures with some young groups crashing through waves and having a blast.
And I’ll leave you with an amusing picture of Dave N. It’s not amusing because of him, but because of the sign. This is where we met everyone for Killin Mountain Bike Club's first group ride! Oh the irony.