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International Women’s Day 2024

International Women’s Day 2024

08th March, 2024

Today, and everyday, we celebrate the extraordinary women who make up our Mountain Rescue teams.


For International Women’s Day 2024, Scottish Mountain Rescue thought it would be a great idea to introduce some of our female team members, who share their experiences of joining and being part of a Mountain Rescue Team in Scotland. 

Tayside MRT

During the past year, some of the women from Tayside Mountain Rescue Team featured in a special BBC Scotland Outdoors podcast: Women in Mountain Rescue – well worth a listen!

Here they discuss their experiences in the Team, how they got involved with Mountain Rescue and ponder how we can attract more women to apply to join them. Now, when more women than ever before are enjoying our mountainous places, it is so important that our Mountain Rescue Teams reflect the diversity we see out in the hills.

Hannah Blair, who has been in the Tayside MRT for about 10 years originally joined the team as a single parent with two young children. Discussing what the future holds for women in Mountain Rescue Teams, she says:

 “When other women see that women are doing this, then there’s not that barrier of ‘it’s not for me‘. It is. It is. If you’ve got the skillset to bring to the team, no matter who you are, you’re welcome.”


Killin MRT: Lisa and Lorna’s story

Lisa Higginson (pictured above) writes: I’ve been in Mountain Rescue for nearly 20 years and it’s wonderful to have young new female talent joining our team. I became Lorna’s mentor over a year ago and she is dedicated, keen to learn and be a valued member of the team. We have worked together on many of our training days and also enjoyed personal days out in the hills together.  To have Lorna on the call out list so quickly is testament to her hard work and commitment to the team.

Lorna (pictured above) writes: I joined the Killin Mountain Rescue Team because I wanted to give something back and after seeing the amazing work the team do. I was always anxious to join, as it did seem very male dominant and there was always a perception that it isn’t a job for women. However, the team couldn’t be more supportive and inclusive and it definitely helped having a female mentor, Lisa. Her knowledge, skill set and confidence on the hill is inspiring and I hope one day I can be as competent as Lisa. I’m very grateful for all her help in my training.

We love their story – it’s so great to see women supporting women!

Dundonnell MRT: Alison’s story

Alison Smith works with Police Scotland, and is a volunteer team member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

Alison with Search and Rescue Dog, Meg. Photo credit: Alasdair Earnshaw


Alison writes: I made the decision to join Dundonnell MRT as I have always loved the outdoor life and in particular being out and about in the hills.  The opportunity to learn and train alongside others whilst helping folk in the wilds of the Highlands was a natural jump from my public sector background.

Our team is a great group of people whose diverse talents and backgrounds come together to get the job done! We spend a lot of time training, which is paramount to the success of the team but also made enjoyable as I’m working with like-minded people. I especially like our weekends away learning or expanding skills.

I have such a sense of pride in our team when someone is returned to their family after being in a difficult/dangerous situation and we have helped in some way.  Of course there are sad times too which the team come together to reflect on, so it’s never lonely.

From the minute the SARCALL goes out and we muster at the Base we are all focused on the rescue/search. The skills I’ve learned in training are used each time and it gives me confidence to be part of the team.  I have an understanding husband who is fully supportive of the time I spend with the Team.

I am also a SARDA (Scotland) dog handler having completed both Novice and Full Dog training and assessment.  Meg comes with me everywhere and we are very much a team.  We’ve completed 53 call outs together since obtaining call out status.  It’s hard work being a dog handler and the commitment is rightly huge but so are the rewards and being part of the SARDA “family” is great.


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