14 April 2009

Mountain rescue

Yesterday I went up Ben Venue with a group. The weather was fine and quite warm, though it clouded over at times. Ben Venue is in the Trossachs, a popular area of forest walks and hills to the north of Glasgow.

There are two main routes up Ben Venue. I had done the western route about a month ago, but this time we started the ascent from the east, passing to the south of the hill and making only the final ascent from the west.

Ben Venue has two tops. Below is the view from the summit cairn (729m) looking south-east towards the trig point (727m) which is marked as the summit on some maps.

From the cairn, some of us walked across to the trig point where we had our lunch. Below is the view back to the cairn.

While we were sitting by the trig point, we saw that somebody had fallen down a small rocky slope and had not got up again. A number of people were attending to her. We realised that these were members of our group who had taken a different route. This group included a doctor who was concerned about a head injury the lady had suffered, so a mobile phone was used to call for help.

We could hardly believe it when a helicopter appeared after only 15 minutes.

The helicopter was an air ambulance which happened to be in the vicinity, but it had no winch so it had to find somewhere to land on the hill. We were amazed at the skill of the pilot who managed to land on a very small flat area between the rocky outcrops about 30m from the casualty.

The casualty was then placed on a special stretcher which could be inflated to immobilize her as there were concerns that she might have a neck injury. She was then carried to the helicopter.

While this was going on, the pilot checked on where she could be taken.

After a short time, the helicopter took off.

It would take only about 15 minutes to fly her to the hospital.

Later we heard that she needed some stitches to a wound in her scalp, but had no major injuries.

We are very grateful for the fantastic level of help we received from the emergency services.

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