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Distinguished Service Award for Charlie MacLeod

Distinguished Service Award for Charlie MacLeod

31st October, 2023

Scottish Mountain Rescue are delighted to present the Distinguished Service Award to Charlie MacLeod of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and SARDA for his tireless dedication to the teams over the years. 

Charlie joined the Assynt Mountain Rescue team in October 2009, having met the team while he raised funds for Alzheimers and AMRT at a sponsored Ben More Assynt walk in June that year.

He saw the chance to combine not only his love of the outdoors and adventure, his medical and mountaineering skills, but also the ability to work in a team to help people.  He quickly realised this was for him, and joined SARDA, with his first dog Molly being fully trained in 2011 and then qualifying with his young dog Freya.

Charlie has been Training Officer for the team since 2013, taking a short break between 2018 and 2021, to commit the time to selflessly help friends of his in need.  He also took on a short role as Deputy Team Leader for 1 year.  His time as training officer spans three Team Leaderships.

(Image copyright of Ed Smith Photography)

Charlie’s contribution to the team and mountain rescue over the last 14 years has been tireless.  As training officer he has passed on his skills, and particular interests in avalanche risks, to the many team members over the years, keeping training both relevant, practical and interesting.  This has built the team both in technical skills but also as a team.  He has also been a SARDA trainer, and in his spare time supported the local community by taking many people out climbing, or setting new routes on his local sea cliffs in Caithness.

His skills and dedication have seen him respond to many call outs, as a team member or dog handler, undertaking numerous multi-day searches going above and beyond to bring loved ones home, across all of Scotland.  So many times he and Molly have been the ‘last ones off’ the hill, determined to find a missing person.  Or he has suggested new search areas, or possible scenarios for missing people.

More widely he has shared his experience within the Mountain Rescue community, providing expertise and support at the Lake District SARDA and Mountain Rescue England and Wales winter/avalanche training.  This respect for his skills is recognised internationally as he has developed relationships with the Norwegian counterparts, and more recently his involvement in ICAR in 2022, returning with new ideas and learning to share with Scottish colleagues.  Charlie is well known and respected across the mountaineering and search and rescue communities.  He is a distinguished man who has selflessly put his time to helping others, and serving the mountaineering community of Scotland.

Thank you Charlie, from all of us at Scottish Mountain Rescue.


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