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

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

08th March, 2022

To mark International Women’s Day 2022, 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.


Jan Millar, Deputy Team Leader of Lomond Mountain Rescue Team tells us over her experiences of being part of the team.

I joined LMRT and SARDA at Easter 1987, so coming up for 35 years…

Spending long summer holidays on Arran growing up I was encouraged to explore the hills as long as I had the family dog with me. This love of being in the hills with a dog for a companion obviously left quite a mark. When I joined Lomond MRT I also started training my first search dog.  I was in SARDA Southern, then SARDA Scotland for 24 years, having worked 3 full search dogs and as I started to train my 4th I reluctantly had to retire due to injury. Training, assessing and working my search dogs all over Scotland and the Lake District has given me fun times, exciting times, petrifying times and some upsetting times.

But what I treasure are the memories of 4 fantastic dogs, one, Skia, still with me, and the lifelong friendships I’ve made along the way.

The best bit about being in Mountain Rescue is spending time with a similar group of people working towards a common goal. Team Members are a group of diverse characters bonded together who enjoy mountaineering; helping others and working as part of a team. It’s hard to describe the humour and the teasing within the Team but it’s such a vital part of coping with some of the callouts we deal with and having that support around you makes the transition from a voluntary Team Member role back to real-life easier to do.

Instead of spending callouts out on the hill in all weathers I am now in the Search Control Vehicle helping to run callouts – warm and dry!!

The most memorable thing was my first callout – my first search dog qualified in October 1988 and on the 22nd December 1988 the call came to travel south to Lockerbie… a life changing event for us all.

I would advise anyone thinking of joining a Team to consider how much they enjoy and thrive in being at one in the hills in the dark in all seasons and weathers. Would they enjoy trudging up and down hillsides carrying equipment or searching for missing people who turn out not to even be in the area – would they find the humour in these situations?

Will their family support their involvement in the Team? Being called out at any time of the day and night? It is a huge commitment in terms of money and time and callouts tend to come at the most inconvenient times.

I am now retired from my job as a Depute Head Teacher. I was able to take whichever of my search dogs was current into school, so had great support from the school community.

My late husband, Stephen, was extremely supportive of my commitment to Lomond MRT and to SARDA – the double commitment of training and callouts is very time consuming.

Indeed, Stephen spent many weekends, particularly in Winter, bodying for SARDA. He spent countless hours cooried up in a bivvy bag in all weathers either studying for his Open University degree or listening to the rugby on his radio or sleeping! His only complaint was when the snow hole he was in was being demolished by an over enthusiastic search dog.

Outside of MR?  Nowadays I will be found walking my 3 dogs, working in a little piece of woodland I’ve been lent, replanting it to create more diversity or eating tea and cake with much loved friends.

Recent news