Friday, April 20, 2012

You can meet Hamish McInnes at Crafts and Things most mornings

To all intents and purposes, Hamish is Glencoe. To climbers and mountaineers around the world he is a legend. In popular imagination the best known climber would be Chris Bonnington, but that is because of the publicity. Chris has done great things, everywhere, but Hamish is the father of mountaineering.

He invented the lightweight stretcher now used by all sorts of rescue services around the world. I helped to carry a bloke with a broken ankle off Sgurr na Banachdich in the Cuillins, when I was 18. Was that hard going! About 25 yards at a time was all that six of us could manage.

He also started the Glencoe Mountain Rescue team exactly fifty years ago this year.

"It was more dangerous in those days," says to-days leader John Grieve. "To-day we can call on 30  volunteers, have fantastic gear, our own vehicle, and even a helicopter." To-day the tram is trained in diving, for river rescues. People drowned in Loch Awe last year but the local services were hampered by Health and Safety. No Health and Safety is involved with the all-amateur Glencoe Rescue team. Just good common sense and good practice and training.

It used to be true that most accidents were caused on the descent, and when the weather turned bad. Most rescues were of walkers, not well equipped climbers. Most rescues involved people not taking maps, compasses, spare food, and good wet weather gear. Basically, most accidents occurred to idiots. I bet it still is true.

I bet that there are fewer people leaving their route with the B & B owner in the morning, in case they are late back. This would be because they now rely on mobile phones. Tried getting a good O2 signal on the magnetic parts of Bidean these days have you?

Ps Hamish and his chums are to be found in Crafts and Things in Glencoe most mornings. Quiet unassuming very gentle. Nice man.

Sorry about this I just want to put in this link for Google to find. Apologies. They are not showing the right title which means that the little demon they use for these things has missed it.

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Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe
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