In an emergency call 999 and ask for Police then Mountain Rescue

Team Training

The training of the volunteers serving on teams associated with Scottish Mountain Rescue is facilitated in two ways. Primarily, each team is responsible for their own training and will generally have a structured programme consisting of evening and day sessions. Many subject areas have to be covered during the training so areas of a critical nature will be prioritised such as avalanche safety and response, casualty care and rigging for example.

In addition to the above, teams will have their own strategy for training and coaching new team members to bring them up to a knowledge and skill level to a standard that will allow them to attend callouts before progressing on to more advanced subject areas. Thankfully the majority of volunteers who apply to become team members already have experience in the mountains and will bring skills in with them.

I enjoy the regular team training with a great bunch of people as well as attending some of the national training and events organised by Scottish Mountain Rescue

Robert Sinclair, Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team

On the Scottish Mountain Rescue Courses I am lucky enough to work with incredibly experienced people. People who are extremely knowledgeable of all things rope and rigging related and who have vast experience in Mountain Rescue

Ross Cadie, Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team, Deputy Team Leader

Team training is about the skills over and above the ones that we have when we join, including additional medical training, search techniques, off-road driving, rescue ropework and working with helicopters

Ross MacIntyre, Ochils Mountain Rescue Team

Scottish Mountain Rescue Training Courses

Scottish Mountain Rescue uses part of the funding it receives to deliver a comprehensive training programme consisting of a variety of courses and events tailored specifically to search and rescue rather than individual or team mountain skills. The expert knowledge required to carry out search and rescue in the Scottish mountains comes predominantly from within Scottish Mountain Rescue itself however, we do look outside of the organisation to confirm good practice by inviting external experts to our courses and engaging in international exchanges.

The courses are designed by small Working Groups, delivered by a wide variety of team members and shaped through;

  • Feedback from attendees
  • New developments and advances in technology
  • Previous incidents that have highlighted a specific need
  • Working practices from within and outside the organisation

The courses are a product of Scottish Mountain Rescue.  We ensure that the information delivered on our courses is supported by the good governance of broad research and knowledge. The training courses and other events are predominantly delivered through theoretical and practical trainer led courses, however, Computer Based Training (CBT) delivery is also conducted on some specific subject areas such as casualty care and helicopter operations. The objectives of the training course programme are to;

  • Provide a cost-effective programme to ensure that donations are used efficiently and effectively
  • Provide information, knowledge and skills in specific subject areas to SMR Volunteers
  • Provision of training that is considered best practice and in line with any new developments, practices or technology
  • Maintain the safety of individuals and teams through the dissemination of safe working practices
  • Maintain a standardised approach of skills and procedures
  • Provide a platform for the sharing of knowledge between individuals and teams.

Training course subject areas

The courses are either stand alone as per the subject area or are further broken down into specific areas as follows;



The Annual Training Conference

Scottish Mountain Rescue also run an annual Training Conference which runs over a full weekend and consists of a number of training related events. The event provides an opportunity for team members to be informed of any recent developments, practices or technology as well as time for networking and sharing knowledge between teams.

Each Working Group as well as guest speakers and Instructors will deliver a range of workshops throughout the weekend allowing team members to attend several subject areas. A number of equipment manufacturers also attend the conference which allows the attendees to discuss their needs and provide feedback on the equipment they use. This may influence what and how items are made for the mountains and for search and rescue requirements.

The International Commission for Alpine Rescue

Scottish Mountain Rescue pays for the costs for a limited number of Scottish Mountain Rescue Working Group members to attend the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) annual conference. The annual ICAR Convention is the association’s main event and is alternately organised/hosted by one of the member organisations.

The annual ICAR Convention usually has a main topic (defined by the ICAR Assembly of Delegates in the preceding year), starts with a pre-convention day (practical workshops out in the field), and continues with 3 days of seminars (meetings and joint sessions of all the technical commissions (terrestrial, avalanche, air, medical & canine). In addition, there is an exhibition area for ICAR Partners and trade exhibitors where attendees spend their time between seminars so that again, equipment requirements and developments can be discussed.



As you can see, it takes a considerable amount of effort and commitment to facilitate and take part in the training, but it is essential to keep team members and the people they search for and rescue safe.