For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 4 August 2019

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team (and others)

I wouldn't say that people partaking in outdoor activities take our mountain rescue teams for granted by a long way. Having said that I had never stopped to consider in any detail the structure and organisation of these teams. Some time ago I came across a blog which other readers here might have seen, but I think its content should be as widely spread as possible.

Andy Mallinson (blog: awalkonthmildside - see link below) joined the Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team and he has written a detailed account of the surprisingly long period of training required before being fully made up as a qualified team member.

The account brought me up with a jolt as I read what a massive commitment is involved bringing team members to a professional standard in many different skills but all on an entirely voluntary basis

This is s must read for one and all.


There are two posts:

"Woodhead Mountain Rescue"

"What a difference a year makes. Training with Woodhead Mountain Rescue"



  1. Sir Hugh - that sounds like a worthwhile read. Also, ‘Mostly Happy Returns’, Braemar Mountain Rescue Team’s 50 years of service is worth a read Conrad, and leaves no doubt as to the commitment needed to be a member of a team working in some of the worst conditions imaginable. One of the highlights for me of going to the Braemar Gathering in September, is talking to the Braemar Team and donating. We sometimes bump into them or the Aberdeen team on training exercises. Another worth reading is ‘Cairngorm John, (his call-sign) by the once leader of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, John Allen. A new edition is due in September.

  2. Indeed , that really is a far cry from being rounded-up by Sid Cross from the residents' bar (then open only to Wayfarers otherwise) around midnight, after a long night on the bevvy, to collect bodies from Bowfell or other misadventures . . . then it was expected that a few sodden greater mountaineers could handle anything at 2500' that they had at 25000 . . . when sober . . .

  3. afoot - thanks for the links. I will have a look.


    gimmer - I suppose there were some bumpy rides then. I frequented both the climber's and the resident's bars at various times; in the earlier days living up to th motto of the mural in the former -" Festerat Wallendia."


  4. From The Guardian Country diary

    Tony Greenbank Mon 26 Oct 2009

    It is cool in the ancient bar – once a shippen – with its spit-and-sawdust feel. Walkers arrive sweating from their travails over Esk Hause and down by Rossett Ghyll and rock climbers who have climbed on Raven Crag sit with their pints and ropes coiled the modern "butterfly" way on benches in the stalls where cows were tied. Occasionally their eyes fix on a dark, lacquered mural of a black-bearded climber being borne aloft by cherubs, pint in one hand and ice axe in the other.

    Above, Venus reclines on a cloud while cooking on a Primus; inscribed are the words Festerat Wallendia. Festering is what rock climbers in the 50s, called languishing in Langdale when it rained, and Wall End Barn was their abode. It was painted by art student Shirley Parfitt, who has since made a career in the world of design in London. Sid and Jammie Cross, the hotel's proprietors, gave her free bed and board during the month she created her masterpiece, using freshly laid farm eggs from the kitchen (not without some protest from Mrs Cross) for her egg tempera method. "There were so many interruptions as the evening progressed," she says. "It was all great fun. In the early hours I might find myself dipping my brush in my beer and sipping my paint water."

    Once the rambunctious assembly who inhabited this climber's bar was singing the Red Flag, the song of the Labour party, when through the door from the hotel stepped Winston Churchill Junior (said to be still at school at Marlborough College). "I say you chaps," he broke in during the stunned lull that followed his appearance, "will any of you take me rock climbing tomorrow?" No one spoke. Then Black Jack, a technical college lecturer, now immortalised in the mural, did the honours up Middlefell Buttress, the launchpad for so many climbers since Siegfried Herford and friends first pioneered the climb in 1911.

  5. BC - Quite a bit of history detail I didn't know about. Tony was always having a dig at Tony Greenbank - we used to see him in that downmarket café at the other end of Ambleside from Rock and Run - forgotten their name until about two o' clock in the morning when I suppose it will suddenly come back to me. Whatever, Tony Greenbank was a competent journalist and this a nice little exasmple.