Sunday, 25 January 2009

God rest their souls.

Three men died yesterday in an Avalanche on Buchaille Etive Mor in Scotland.

Although I do not go climbing, and do not even possess any crampons, I can fully understand what the men were doing up there. The joys of being outdoors, battling against both the landscape and the weather, can be the ultimate high. Yet sometimes a price is paid.

Buchaille Etive Mor was the first 'real' mountain I climbed, on a long walk with my school back in '91. At the time I was still suffering from my long-term ankle injury, and was in the middle of an all-to-brief respite from the pain. I was a shy, nervous 18-year old, yet to fully emerge from his shell. Little did I know where my life would take me, how many other hills and mountains I would climb in later years.

I would like to express my thanks to the members of the mountain rescue teams and helicopter crews who helped in the awful conditions on the mountain. When you read a story like this please remember: the mountain rescue teams are manned by volunteers. They, like the great men and women of the RNLI, are willing to go out into terrible conditions to help others for no money. One minute you could be working in a shop or office; the next you might be making your way up a track in a blizzard. Wherever you may be, in Derbyshire, the Lake District, Wales or Scotland, they are there to help.

If you want to know the sorts of things these heroes do, see the incident log at Edale Mountain Rescue. I just pray that I shall never need your services.

To the poor men who died: I shall raise a glass this evening in your memory.

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