Scottish Mountain Rescue MRTs have developed from humble beginnings to the teams of extremely trained and skilled volunteers we see today providing a world class service for all who need them.
Prior to the time when the rescue teams were set up, if anyone was unlucky enough to have an accident it was left to their friends and family to pull together the people and equipment needed to attempt a rescue. The rescuers were all volunteers from the local community, friends of the injured and anyone else with the necessary mountain skills willing to get involved and help. The early rescues took place before mobile phones and even phones, so the only way to summon help was often by word of mouth or letter, so it could often take quite a few days to get together a rescue party.
The emergence of MRTs in Scotland took place over several decades with a surge in the 1960s. During the same decade in 1965 the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland (now Scottish Mountain Rescue) was set up, as the need for a coordinating body to represent the teams became clear.
Today Scottish Mountain Rescue represents 24 highly trained volunteer mountain rescue team – this includes, two search and rescue dog teams, a cave rescue team, three Police MRTs, one RAF MRT and a search drone team – who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In 2018 our 850 volunteers were called out to 683 times to 588 incidents to assist 851 people. This is an increase of 54% from the previous year. 41% of the incidents involved the sport of mountaineering, while 51% were non-mountaineering incidents.
Our volunteers are very much the heart of Scottish Mountain Rescue and in 2018 they gave up 29,091 hours of their time during call outs and in addition to this between all the teams they spent over 85,000 hours training.
Our Mountain Rescue volunteers are people drawn from all walks of life, who share a commitment to go out at any time of day, in any weather and in any location to perform search and rescue operations. They are dedicated and together provide tens of thousands of hours of service to the country saving many lives each year. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Our teams’ purpose continues to be Volunteering to Save Lives, Any Hour, Any Day, Any Weather.