Thursday, 12 March 2009

Cave Rescue

I wonder whether caving counts as an outdoor activity given that it largely takes place indoors? Here in the Outdoor Capital of the UK were fairly well known for our big hills and open lochs, but did you know that we also have a fair few caves on the patch too?

The TV must have been a bit dull last night as instead of a glass of vino and sinking into a comfy sofa in front of the fire, we found ourselves myself doing a bit of this instead. Despite being a 'mountain' rescue team, Glencoe Mountain Rescue are called on to assist in all manner of incidents, including cave rescues. With our cave stretcher (looks like a superb sledge!) and an extremely brave volunteer we set off down the 'walk in' cave in Duror to have a little rescue exercise.

Its a while since I've been near these caves. My last visit was probably something like 2o years ago on a rescue in the Cave of Skulls. Consequently, I'd managed to get it into my head that a 'walk in' cave would be more like Stump Cross Cavern and come complete with a tour guide and a crystal shop at the end. Oh, dear..!

A fairly interesting exercise, all told. Casualty handling in enclosed spaces is even more difficult than it is in exposed places. And whilst man handling the 'stretcher' round impossible corners and down the odd steep pitch is hard work and (not good for those with a bad back), I'd rather be doing that that having my nose scraped along the walls whilst lying on it!

My advice? If you do go caving don't have an accident. Particularly if you're taller than 5' 6" and you're passionate about pies. And also, make sure you've got some of those protective seat covers for your car and don't go near the washing machine while your wife is looking.

Taking photos was a bit of challenge. Either a view of someone's rear end, too much moisture in the atmosphere causing a mist in the flash or all hands required! There's a few more photos on the web album.

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