Written by Steve Hull
East Cheshire Ramblers spent a fascinating and informative evening as guests of the Buxton Mountain Rescue team at their headquarters in Dove Holes. The visit began with an overview of the history and current organisation of mountain rescue in the Peak District. The Buxton team is one of seven groups which between them provide coverage of the Peak District, stretching from Oldham and Woodhead in the north to Derby in the south. Each team covers its own area but can call on assistance from the others when needed. Mountain Rescue groups cooperate closely with the other emergency services and provide expertise and equipment which they do not have. The service is purely voluntary, relying on members giving up their own time to train and keep their skills up to date as well as attending incidents. Members can be called out at any time and rely on the understanding of employers to allow them to help in emergency situations.
We were shown much of the equipment that the team has available to enable them to help members of the public in difficulties in hill country. This ranges from the cheap and easily available such as sit-mats and mosquito nets through complex and expensive specialised stretchers up to fully equipped ambulances and headquarters vehicles. The team also carry a range of drugs and other medical equipment to help in emergencies on the hills.
To lend a practical aspect to the visit, Ralph volunteered to be strapped on to a stretcher and into the associated body bag designed to hold casualties in position while they are being evacuated across rough ground.
As well as their own resources the team are able to call on various helicopters to rescue casualties from difficult or remote places when it is essential to get a casualty to hospital quickly.
Another aspect of mountain rescue is searching for missing people. This can sometimes involve the use of dogs in the search.
As can be imagined, this equipment imposes a heavy burden on finances – a stretcher can cost several thousand pounds. It is vitally important that those of us who enjoy activities in the hills contribute to the work of mountain rescue. Donations can be made to the Buxton team on their web page at www.buxtonmountainrescue.org.uk. Our visit raised £110 through initial booking fees and a further £139 pounds from a bucket collection at the end of the evening.
We came away from the visit with heightened respect for the work that the team does in helping to keep us all safe while we enjoy the wonderful Peak District countryside. Our thanks go to Brian who organised the evening (and the meal in Combs beforehand) and to Linda who provided tea and cake during the talk. They also supplied the photographs for this article.
If other members would like to look at the work done by the team, Brian has details of his contacts within the Buxton team. You are assured of an interesting and informative evening.
A shortened version of this article will appear in the Macclesfield Express on the 25th July.