Scottish mountain rescue teams save hundreds in 'busiest year on record'

Over 600 incidents were recorded by volunteer crews across Scotland in 2021.

Scottish mountain rescue teams brave dangerous peaks to save hundreds in ‘busiest year on record’ STV News
Mountain rescue teams responded to more than 950 call outs in 2021.

Hundreds of people were saved from Scotland’s mountains by volunteer teams who braved dangerous peaks to carry out daring rescues in the ‘busiest year on record’.

A total of 19 fatalities were recorded from more than 660 incidents across the country during 2021, according to figures from Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR).

Crews, mainly made up of civilian members, responded to a growing number of emergency callouts near “urban centres” in Edinburgh, Fife, the Lothians and Tayside however areas in the north retained the majority of incidents.

The organisation’s annual report also also detailed how mountain rescue teams (MRT) gave up over 30,000 hours to patrol Scotland’s peaks over the past 12 months.

Teams responded to an array of incidents involving serious injuries, walkers becoming lost due to failures in navigation systems and mountaineers becoming stranded by inclement weather conditions.

Instances of ‘benighting,’ when walkers are overtaken by darkness, and crag-fasts, when those scaling the hills are left helpless with nowhere to go, were also among the issues tackled by units.

A total of 951 separate call-outs were recorded during the calendar year from 25 volunteer crews plus three MRT squads from Police Scotland and one from the RAF.

Seven animals – four dogs, two sheep and one cat – were rescued in operations carried out during the year, while four people were ‘blown over’.

Of the 19 fatalities, seven were classed as “mountaineering incidents,” while crews participated in 15 body recovery operations.

Kev Mitchell, SMR vice-chairman, said: “It has been an extremely busy year for our volunteer mountain rescue teams.

“This illustrates the huge commitment shown by team members and their families to ensure that hill-goers have a free, world-class mountain rescue service when they need it throughout Scotland.”