Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tragic Events In Glencoe

Glencoe in the headlines again. News of this weekend's avalanche in Glencoe and the tragic loss of life spread far and wide, and in these days of social media, very quickly too. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch over the last couple of days offering their thoughts and condolences. We need to add our own offers of condolence to these and pass them all on to families and friends, and everyone affected by the tragedy.

I have to confess to finding this the hardest blog to write. But with so many taking an interest, and Clachaig being almost within view of Bidean, I feel there should be something to acknowledge the weekend's events.

I wrote this on my own Facebook profile last night, and I think it strikes the right tone. Apologies if it's a little personal. 

Saturday's rescue was as professional and as slick as you could ever hope for. Some great sustained flying from the navy, plenty of support from Lochaber and the well greased machine that is Glencoe MRT, all brought together with some excellent leadership. Proud to be still part of it after all these years but still gutted that it couldn't change the outcomes on the day. But it all comes at a cost. Keeping the team on the hill and me in this year's colours requires donations to fund it. Anyone riding the Strathpuffer deserves a medal regardless, but it would be great if you could give these guys some added incentive for this weekend with a little donation to the cause. Chris wooped me and the rest of the field at Barcaldine last Sunday and joined us for our Wednesday night tree dodging at Inchree. Being a true gent, he even helped with Gregor's puncture while the rest of us looked on. A tragic loss. 

And here's the link that went with it. 

Chris Bell.
Victorious at the WHW/NACC Winter League last Sunday in Sutherland's Grove.
Photo credit & copyright Fiona Gunn

I know we regularly ask for your contributions in our raffles at Clachaig, but at risk of sounding like a second rate Hollywood script, it's personal.

Now is probably a good time to remind you of the Winter Mountain Safety Lectures which are due to start in a couple of weeks time. Education has to be the key to trying to minimise the number of accidents in the hills, and these lectures are just part of that processs of acquiring and refreshing the type of knowledge that might just one day help to save another life.

We're passionate about them. They've been a feature of winters in Glencoe for over 20 years. They're FREE to attend. They're informative. And, usually, they're quite entertaining too.

As with just about everything these days, funding constraints at the Mountaineering Council of Scotland put the full series under threat. However, we're very pleased to have Mammut on board as sponsors, supporting the series.  In addition to funding the basic costs, Mammut have also provided a few goodies, not least of which is a Pulse Barryvox Transceiver, which we'll be raffling during the course of FebruaryFest, with funds raised being given to Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team.

The lecture dates are as follows (with links for each one)

So, I guess we're trying to grab onto something positive out of all of this. We know that people will always continue to head into the hills. If you are heading to Glencoe this winter, try and catch one of the lectures while you're here. Oh, and buy a raffle ticket.

MRT Avalanche Training Weekend at Nevis Range

Thanks for reading.