Sunday, 27 July 2014
As Fiona prepares to leave BASP for pastures new, she has been going through some old ZIP drives and found some old stuff of mine. Here's a wee article she found about a rescue team training day which was followed by attending a rescue on the Cobbler for a climber with a serious head injury. Apologies if its a bit rough and naff but I was just learning to write articles.
This was my first evening at JSMTC. It's kind of freaky finding the article today as I have been drafting a future Blog post about the way I feel JSMTC is responding to my partial retirement and the actions of line management. On the day in question in 1998 my line manager was Capt. Glynn Shepard. A great bloke and one of the best line mangers I have had the privilege to work under at the centre
How about a Canyoning training practise suggested the leader (John). O.K says the team, where? Let’s get a chopper and fly into the gorge above the German
at the end of April suggests the leader.
O.K we say. Two Sundays later we
have an interesting day with me a bit twitchy as I start a new job at 7.00pm
that night. camp Kinlochleven
It all begins at the new rescue centre. We meet, and as usual plans are laid back. Rescue 137 arrives to find a semi comatose bunch of ex hippies and thrusting youth ready for action. Wet suits and other apparel are donned by John who has a cunning stunt in mind. We land amid the alder clad brush above Kinlochleven in a scene that would do justice to the classic
chopper book “Chickenhawk”. Paul Moores
decides to climb into the gorge and simulate a broken neck. Rudimentary belays spring up all around as a
variety of MIC’s and prawn fishermen try to assert who is best with ropes. The result was functional rather than
aesthetically pleasing, and a truce was called.
Paul is packaged ready for hauling when a shout is heard and John falls backward over a 20’ raging waterfall
and disappears off downstream. John
reappears some 30mins later wondering why nobody went to his aid as this
perhaps wasn’t a planned exit? Vietnam
|John Greive about to jump into the River Leven up at "The Worlds End" pools to add a bit of spice to the scenario|
Much hauling and cursing sees the casualty transported to a clearing in the wood and all 15 of us pile in for the flight back to base. Coffee and biscuits later, the winchman runs in to find John as they “have a job” and need 2 team plus “the medic” - me. In we pile. Ronny, Paul Moores and I. No word yet from RCCK as to where the job is. We fly over the by now wet and gray hills southward for 30 mins. Word is the casualty is in a serious condition after a long fall . We fly up through the mist to the ridge which leads over to the casualty and spot figures waving frantically. The chopper lands on and out we pile running along the ridge and down to get to him.
We find the casualty on a grassy ledge 80’ below where he fell. He is very injured and needs to go to hospital quickly. He is unfortunately surrounded by doctors and nurses from a medics hillwalking group. Many pale anaemic doctor types looking 16 but probably 30 years begin to be assertive in the company of us aliens from the sky. Diagnosis’s abound. It soon becomes apparent that none are as slick as they thought, and good old fashioned naked aggression from us seems to get things back under control. As a peacemaking gesture the oldest looking of the bunch was given the cannula to put in. This he did with gusto, but when he seemed perplexed as no blood came out the end it became apparent that unlike the cannula, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box.
The casualty was quickly packaged and carried down a little way till the chopper could come in and lift him. After this the helo landed again on the ridge, and after a sprint back to get on board we were winging our way to The General Suffering hospital in Glasgow.
After a 15min flight we landed on what appeared like a Tesco car park miles from the A/E entrance. Winchy and I disembark with the casualty onto the back of a flat bedded van with two gum chewing pirates dressed as nurses on board. I am met with “ah like yer truss jimmy - musta been some party”, referring to my state of the art Petzl guru harness. After a short journey we entered the A/E and do our handover. The casualty has spinal injuries as well as a pneumothorax and pelvic fractures, so all in a good bit of teamwork between SAR crew and MRT, we feel chuffed.
Some time later I need a pee. Wandering around I see a doppelganger - bugger me, its Ronnie! “How’s it going Dave? I’ve been wandering around for ages. The choppers gone to
Paul. How are we going to get back
home?” I see a clock and its
5.00pm. I start at 7.00 so it looks like
a bad start in my career as an honorary soldier. Several phone calls later the Police agree to
take us to the airport. The police duly
arrive and drive us like the clappers through Sunday football traffic to the
airport police station. Good news is
that I can phone wifey to say I may be late for tea. “Where the ****k did you say you are!” she says incredulously. Bad news is that they won’t allow us onto the
airfield to look for the chopper unless we get searched. So, off we go in our S&M kit with all the
dangly jingly bits, accompanied by sniggering from the pale anaemic wee jimmy’s
who think their smart. Glasgow
We eventually get ushered to a small departure lounge and meet up with the SAR aircrew. It seems that such is the paranoia about terrorism that despite having a big yellow budgie with RAF on the side, and flying suits/helmets etc, that they also had to be body searched and they are not amused. Beep goes the body scanner again - ****k it goes Davy. Off we go then, eventually, and try and find what is a big ****k off helicopter in Glencoe, but which looks like a wee budgie when we eventually find it among some 747’s. We eventually get on board and ages later get permission to taxi out among the giants. We take off into the gathering gloom and fly North West down
Loch Lomond. After
50 mins of juddering and shivering we land back in Glencoe where a quick shave and change sees me racing off to
start my new job.
I’m in the door at JSMTC at 7.00 exactly, and sort out the gear. First student in is most unimpressed by the gloomy weather, and a bit ratty. His first words to me; “fuckin ell mate - must be fookin boring stayin in this place” - Great joy at being paid overtime in my new job, and having had a nice wee day out, I said nothing.