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Record year recorded for Scottish Mountain Rescue in 2021 with nearly 1,000 callouts

Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) confirmed 2021 marked their busiest year on record with 951 separate team call-outs across the country.
Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) confirmed 2021 marked their busiest year on record with 951 separate team call-outs across the country.

Rescue teams across the north and north-east experienced one of their busiest years to date as more than 270 incidents were recorded across the region last year.

Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) confirmed 2021 marked their busiest year on record with 951 separate team call-outs natiowide.

Mountaineers across Scotland devoted a total of 31,799 man hours with at least one team called out on 290 days of the year.

The nationwide tally of 951 callouts represents a significant increase from the tally of 715 reported in 2020.

Volunteers also devoted an additional 7,398 hours of service, compared to that of 2020.

The findings have been revealed in the charity’s 2021 statistics report.

More than 20 members of Skye MRT worked through the night searching the Cuillins for the missing walker in August 2021.

SMR bosses confirmed the arrival of coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown had prompted a rise in the number of call-outs as more people embraced the great outdoors.

Mountaineers devote their lives to Scotland’s peaks

Kev Mitchell, vice chairman of SMR said the figures illustrate a strong commitment from mountaineers in protecting the lives of hill-goers.

He said: “We are pleased to produce our Statistics Review 2021, it has been an extremely busy year for our volunteer Mountain Rescue teams.

“This illustrates the huge commitment shown by team members and their families to ensure that hill-goers have a free world-class Mountain Rescue service when they need it throughout Scotland.”

Figures from the 2021 report have revealed a total of 951 separate team call outs were made to mountaineering teams across Scotland over the course of the year.

This figures includes continuous incidents, spreading across several days.

A total of 715 people were rescued by volunteers, with 19 fatalities, seven of which occurred in mountaineering incidents.

Mountaineering groups in Grampian and Highlands experienced a busy year, with 277 call-outs received overall.

Braemar MRT accumulated 1,836 hours of service across 38 call-outs.

Skye MRT was among the busiest with 49 incidents attended. Volunteers devoted around 2,022 hours of service over the course of the year.

Dundonnell MRT found themselves in a similar situation with 36 incidents, accumulating to 1,922 man hours.

A total of 30 incidents were also attended by Oban MRT during 2021, with volunteers devoting 1,291 hours of service to the cause.

In the north-east, Braemar MRT accumulated 1,836 hours of service across 38 call-outs.

Meanwhile, volunteers from the Aberdeen proup attended 19 incidents.

Police officers in Grampian were also on hand to assist during 51 rescue operations.

Key rescues of 2021

Rescue teams endured fierce conditions and gale force winds in some of the toughest incidents of 2021.

Experienced hillwalker Mike Campbell died after falling more than 260ft while descending from the summit of Blaven on the Isle of Skye on September 26.

Skye Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and a rescue helicopter were scrambled to the scene, with additional support from Kintail Mountain Rescue Team and two mountain guides who were on the hill at the time.

Following a thorough search, his body was discovered.

Skye Mountain Rescue experienced an extremely busy year in 2021 as rescuers attended 49 incidents.

A foreign national also fell to his death on August 15 while exploring Skye’s Mountain Range.

More than 20 members of Skye MRT worked through the night searching the Cuillins for the missing walker.

In February of that year, a climber was rescued amidst fierce conditions after falling on Ben Udlaidh Near Tyndrum.

The climber sustained an ankle injury after falling on the 2,760ft peak.

Due to the conditions the team took the climber off the hill on a stretcher.

Very cold hillwalker rescued in Wester Ross

In March, a “very cold” hillwalker was rescued from a freezing Wester Ross mountain.

A hillwalker was rescued by an 18-person search team on Am Faochagach.

Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) was deployed at the request of Police Scotland to search for the missing male on Am Faochagach, a few miles south of Ullapool, after he was reported to be overdue.

Around 18 members and two dogs searched the 3,127ft peak before locating the climber, very cold but otherwise unharmed, a short time later.

Valiant rescue by Braemar Mountain Rescue

Mountaineers from Braemar were hailed as “heroes” for saving a stranded climber in the Cairngorms in August.

The team battled through piercing winds of up to 65mph amidst Storm Barra to rescue the walker, who had become stranded near the Fords of Avon refuge.

The rescue lasted for around 16-hours.

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