Last weekend was a busy two days for Galloway Mountain Rescue Team. Fundraising in Ayr during the day on Saturday 29th November, a call-out to Benyellary in the evening, concluded with a full day’s training on Sunday the 30th November.

Team members collecting in Ayr – 29th November 2014

The team has held an annual Flag Day in Ayr town centre for a number of years, and our outing to the town proved particularly worthwhile on Saturday 29th November, 2014. Seven team members, along a display including our new VW Transporter Rescue Vehicle, collected throughout the day.
Fundraising Officer Neil Dalrymple said: “The shoppers in Ayr were particularly supportive once again this year; despite the fact we felt it was quieter than previous years. We raised a massive £971.08 in a little over four hours. We really appreciate this level of generosity and thank everyone for their kind donations.”
Later in the day, before some of the team members who had been collecting in Ayr even managed to get changed, the team were called out by Police Scotland.
At 6.35pm, Police Scotland contacted the team to respond to two lost walkers, a man and a woman, who had become disoriented and lost whilst descending from the Merrick summit, to Bruce’s Stone Car Park at Glentrool. Seven team personnel responded from Newton Stewart.

 Galloway Lima, our Land Rover Defender responding to the callout – 29th November 2014
Galloway Lima, our Land Rover Defender responding to the callout – 29th November 2014

Mike Kneeshaw, who managed the search, said: “We were able to quickly locate the walkers using the SARLOC system which extracts their current position from the GPS co-ordinates on their Smartphone and sends the data to a secure online system. They were then provided with directions over the phone to navigate themselves back to the Merrick path. Unfortunately, we lost phone contact with them due to poor signal resulting in us deploying team members onto the hill to ensure they returned safely.”
“Two vehicles responded, one attending at Bruce’s Stone Car Park, the other to the forest road above Culsharg; a location about 1.5km from their last known location. Thankfully, shortly before 8.00pm, they were traced safe and well by the team, not far from Bruce’s Stone, on the path we had directed them back to.”
Galloway Mountain Rescue Team

Team members on a ledge on Craigdews – 30th November 2014
Team members on a ledge on Craigdews – 30th November 2014

On Sunday, 30th November, the team were training at Craigdews Hill in the Galloway Forest Park. The focus of the exercise was a technical evacuation of a casualty who had been injured and who was located on a narrow ledge. A Royal Navy helicopter from HMS Gannet, Rescue 177, took part in the exercise and airlifted the technical rescuers to the top of the hill.
David Adamson, Team Training Officer said: “This was an ideal opportunity to work with our SAR colleagues from HMS Gannet and quickly locate our technical group to the hillside above our ‘casualty’. In a real incident, this saves time, and on this occasion it saved a long walk up the hillside. Our technical group set up a four point belay system and were lowered to the casualty. He was thereafter lowered to the bottom of the crag.”
“Whilst we don’t receive many callouts which involve technical evacuations, it is important that as a team we exercise our skills to ensure we are primed to deal with them safely and professionally.”
For more information about the voluntary activities of Galloway MRT across Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire, including details of incidents, training, walk routes and much more, visit www.gallowaymrt.org.uk.