New vehicle bid for Hebrides mountain rescue

Members of the team hard at work in the hills.Members of the team hard at work in the hills.
Members of the team hard at work in the hills.
​With the new tourist season about to start, the Hebrides Mountain Rescue team have launched a fund-raising campaign for a new emergency response vehicle.

The group say the custom-built design is vital for continuing their services and to ensure that those who are in need of rescue in the hills and mountains of the isles can be treated in the best possible way.

HebMRT Team Leader Charlie Greenwood said: "Our big goal this year is to start fundraising for a new van. .

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"It's kind of like a control vehicle. We would get an off-the-shelf van and customise it so that it is essentially an ambulance, control vehicle and people carrier.”

Last year they moved to new premises near the hospital. Previously they were in the centre of Stornoway.

“We do this on a voluntary basis,” said Charlie. “We are not paid. We do this off our own backs and don’t get a huge amount of funding so anything people can do to help would be greatly appreciated."

Since 2016 the local team have been involved in 117 incidents and are increasingly dealing with mental health emergencies and people are “despondent”.

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Fundraising efforts and promotion of the team were given a boost recently as they collaborated with An Lanntair to have a stand at the entrance to screening of adventure short films.

An Lanntair is part of a network of locations across the UK which participate in the annual Kendal Mountain Tour festival by showing outdoor-themed films and videos.

"I gave a presentation on the night which was a quick introduction to the team,” said Charlie.

“We went into a little bit more detail in terms of what we actually do, in terms of the search and rescue capabilities, rigging, the styles of rescue we do and other sorts of services we carry out.

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"We also talked a little about the training that’s involved and some of the skills we help maintain and develop. And we talked about what you need to do in the event that you need to get our assistance and call us out."

Charlie said that this event had led to a number of new volunteers being recruited, but of course more help is always needed. To volunteer or donate to Hebrides Mountain Rescue go to their website.