Fly me to the moon

One diversion from the struggle against my personal shortcomings the other day was watching a rescue practice on nearby Beinn Chorranach.
The familiar red and grey chopper leisurely circled all the peaks, then hovered above the rounded hilltop and dropped the winchman onto the snow. The chopper circled again (above) and then landed on Beinn Chorranach to pick up the winchman again (you can just see it landing below on the left hand peak).

It’s reassuring, inspiring even. I trust these people with my life without having met them, and when the Tories tear it all apart they’re breaking up more than a “service”. At the back of all our minds, whether we’re on a hill, a Sutherland B road or a remote island, we know there’s trained, disciplined professionals ready to help if the need is great enough.
When it’s a bunch of contractors running the service it’ll be different, I dare say a lot of ex-forces personnel will find themselves in there, but it’s still going to be a company run for profit, whatever the crews in the choppers feel, back at the office a rescue will just be a product to sell.
I’m not decrying contractors, I am one after all. But I know how it works, we don’t always get jobs because of talent and good looks, sometimes it’s purely because we’re the cheapest.  Think of that, waiting by (or as?) a casualty at 1000m and -17°C for a helicopter and crew who were the cheapest the government could find.

10 thoughts on “Fly me to the moon

  1. Aye, Labour were just Tories with red ties on. I wonder what would have happened if a socialist Labour government had got in, would we be better or worse off?
    It’s greed and stupidity that’s got us where we are, and that’s not party policy, it’s human nature.
    Sigh.

  2. I think the idea to privatise it came from the states as thats what they do(i think) and what starts there seems to end up here, think obesity. Probably be a yank company running it as well. If they still respond and save lives the same as it is now and the transistion is seemless no-one will complain, but if it goes to rat shit then we all will.

  3. Most things that are privatised go wrong here, not just because of incompetence, but bercause beaurocracy has to be ctreated to look after it and all the extra layers cream off some of the money leaving the end product shite, expensive or both. British Rail, all the utilities anyone?

  4. I know I’m late to this, but I’m so shocked I had to chime in.

    I feel for you, it is really bad news. In one of my two visits to Scotland, my girlfriend fell and broke her collarbone miles from anywhere, no phone signal. It was past some loch about 8 or 9 km from Corrour Station, don’t remember the name. We decided to try to make it back to Corrour Station, hoping there would be an emergency phone. It was hard, a pitch black night, me carrying both backpacks (hers in front) I couldn’t see much despite my headlight and kept sinking knee deep (sometimes hip deep :-) in the bogs of Rannoch Moor. She trailed behind me enduring the pain, not complaining a single time. It took us several hours to reach Corrour, but the phone was there. All Mountain Rescue had to do was guide the lost ambulance to where we were, at 4 or 5 am, but nevertheless their presence was so reassuring, the guy was really sympathetic and chatted with me while the nurse took care of my girl, assuring me that I had done the right things and treated her correctly. This anecdote is very irrelevant, as our lives weren’t really in danger, but what I take from it (other than the reassurance that my mountaineering companion is a brave woman) is that both the Mountain Rescue guy and the ambulance people were very human, genuinely concerned about two people in trouble in the middle of the night, all that mattered to them was being able to help and comfort us.

    Fortunatley I have never had to be rescued in my home mountains the Pyrenees, but I have a few mates that have, and their experiences are the same. These rescue people are highly trained professionals, but above all they care about you, and won’t only do anything to rescue you but will also go the extra mile and try to comfort you and make you feel better.

    They are not worried about efficiency or performance rates. Sadly I doubt that will be the case anymore. Here at home they haven’t talked about privatizing Rescue but I’ve no doubt that there are some that would love to do it, the same that are trying to destroy our Health and Education systems and any kind of social welfare, we all know who they are…

    Apologies for the long winded post, but this issue rubs on that fibre…

  5. “This anecdote is very irrelevant”, not at all, that story is a perect example of how well things work, both the emergency services and yourselves by knowing what to do.

    These are worrying times.

  6. Now that I’ve had time to look at the Harvey map (great maps by the way) I can name the loch, it was Loch Treig. See, I don’t like to leave lochs unnamed :-) We were aiming for a nearby bothy that evening when she fell (but I haven’t found said bothy on the map, Staoineag, maybe?)

    Anyway what I wanted to say is Mountain Rescue is good. Not just in general, I mean Scottish Mountain Rescue, and I know that for fact. It really saddens me that someone, anyone, would think of getting rid of it.

    Worrying times, indeed.

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