Holyrood honours mountain rescue volunteers
MOUNTAINEERING organisations have met with politicians at the Scottish Parliament thanks to enthusiastic mountaineer Liz Smith MSP.
In the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, where the sport of climbing in Scotland is reputed to have originated in the Victorian age, Mountaineering Scotland and Scottish Mountain Rescue held a reception at Holyrood to celebrate the dedication and expertise of the volunteers and professionals who keep people safe in Scotland’s mountains and wild landscapes. Ms Smith has also submitted a motion in parliament recognising and praising the work of both organisations and has received the cross-party backing of 36 MSPs so far.
Scottish Mountain Rescue is the representative and coordinating body for mountain rescue teams in Scotland, speaking for 23 voluntary teams involving more than 800 volunteers.
Mountaineering Scotland is the representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers, mountaineers and snowsport tourers in Scotland, with nearly 15,000 members, and plays a major role in promoting safety in Scotland’s mountains, giving advice and providing subsidised training covering a range of essential mountain skills.
At the reception on Tuesday evening, hosted by Liz Smith MSP, more than 100 members, supporters and partners of the two organisations discussed with MSPs and their staff the contribution mountaineering and mountain rescue services make to the nation’s economy and well-being, as well as some of the opportunities and challenges the future holds.
Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Smith, said: ‘Without Mountaineering Scotland and the Scottish Mountain Rescue service our hills and mountains would be a lot more dangerous and it is only right that we celebrate their hard work at Holyrood. Scotland is one of the world’s most picturesque countries and visitors travel here to immerse themselves in the great outdoors and it is important that a safety net exists when things go awry.
‘I look forward to learning more about both organisations and this reception is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their work and inform other MSPs about the challenges they face and how best to increase safety on Scotland’s mountains.’