An experienced mountaineer at the helm of a Highland mountain rescue team is to step down.
Donald McRae has been team member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team for more than three decades, often risking his own life to save others.
Following an extremely challenging year for the Ross-shire team – with almost 3,000 rescue hours under their belt – the 47-year-old mountaineer has decided to step down as team leader from Saturday and become a regular team member again.
He said: “It’s a pleasure to lead the team for a second time and to take on that role and allow for me to develop a strategic approach in how we operate and has allowed us to expand the team.
“The time is right for me to take a step down from being team leader and allow others to take up the role.”
At the age of 16, Mr McRae first joined the team as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award (DoE).
In the early 2000s he took on the role of team leader for the first time before reclaiming the position in 2014.
Looking back on his 10 year tenure as team leader, the deputy head teacher of Alness Academy said the loss of life in the mountains was the hardest challenge faced by the 35-strong team.
Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team leader Donald McRae is stepping down from the position. Donald said, "I have had the…
In 2016, the team braved a six-hour hike through heavy rain and fog to locate fellow team member James Edwards who had fallen in the Fisherfield Mountains.
Despite their valiant efforts in successfully extracting him off the hill, the father-of-two died of his injuries.
He added: “It’s always challenging having to deal with folk who have lost their lives in the hills and I always remember those individuals and their families that we supported over the time.
“I think a particularly difficult time was when we have to deal with members of our own team who sadly lost their lives in the hills and we are involved in that, in those rescues.”
As Mr McRae prepares to re-join the team and continue his long standing service to the cause, he says he is looking forward to getting “stuck back into the day-to-day aspects.”
He said: “The whole team are very much family and we have had some good times together.
“I look forward to continuing an active role within the team and nationally. I know that whilst I maybe stepping down, I have every confidence in the successive leadership team.”