In an emergency call 999 and ask for Police then Mountain Rescue
I am 29 years old and a Stonemason by trade, currently living and working in Stirling. I discovered my love for the Scottish hills and landscapes when I was a student in Edinburgh and took part in many trips with the University Hillwalking Club. These trips opened my eyes to the range of landscapes Scotland has to offer and gave me an appreciation of the benefits of spending time in the outdoors. In the past few years I have developed a keen interest in trail running, anything from local parkruns to ultra distance races. My main motivation is simply to spend time outside, taking in the natural environment, but I also love the the rush of exhilaration as you crest a hill or discover a new natural beauty spot. I have used both trail running and hillwalking as ways to explore Scotland, from riverside runs by the River Tay to hikes in the Assynt mountains.
In March this year I was hillrunning on Goatfell on the Isle of Arran and fell from the North buttress of the Stacach ridge. I fell a significant distance and landed on the snowy slopes below, sustaining multiple injuries including several fractured vertebrae. The Arran Mountain Rescue and HM Coastguard Rescue 199 were incredible in the speed and professionalism they showed when responding to my emergency call and they were able to get me off the hill safely. I was impressed with the care and pragmatism they showed whilst their calm, confident approach put me at ease despite the challenging circumstances. I have always known that Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams provide an essential service but only now can I fully appreciate the incredible work that they do and the ongoing need to support the SMR.
Photo: Taken by Arran Mountain Rescue Team of HM Coastguard 199 airlifting Doug
I am very fortunate that I will make a full recovery from my injuries but at the moment I am still on the mend. I currently wear a cervical neck collar to protect my neck whilst the vertebrae are healing so I am limited in the kinds of activities I can undertake. That said, I aim to complete the Miles for SMR challenge by walking 53 miles over the course of the month, although I wish I could be running them!
Photo: Doug recovering in hospital
I’m very lucky to have some amazing, active friends who have offered to join the Miles for SMR challenge. Each of them loves running and have their own personal goals that they are aiming to achieve. I also want to give a special shout out to my girlfriend Kirsten who set up the team and has been amazing at supporting me since the accident. If anyone else wants to join the team then they are more than welcome – we are a friendly bunch!
I have to admit that my road to recovery has been a frustrating one. As someone who is used to filling up their evenings with a run or spending the weekend exploring new areas, it has been challenging to be so physically restricted. I’m hoping that the Miles for SMR challenge will actually be a great way for me to begin returning back to a more active lifestyle. I intend to achieve my distance challenge by incorporating several 5km recovery walks into each week which will simultaneously help me recover physically but also get me out the house and help improve my mental health.
Photo: Doug with his girlfriend Kirsten on a run around the Island of Great Cumbrae.
I have a personal fundraising page on the Miles for SMR challenge website and that is where you can also find the team page ‘Thanks for rescuing Doug!’ If anyone out there wants to join the challenge then feel free to join our team!
Once I am fully fit and back up and running I intend to make up for lost time and complete another big challenge as part of my fundraising efforts so watch this space!