By: Blonde One
To all of us who enjoy a day out in the hills, whether the hills of Dartmoor or the Scottish mountains, we have a lot to thank Hamish MacInnes for. Hamish MacInnes was the founder of the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team in 1961 and was the one who first developed the mountain rescue system that we have today. He also founded the Search and Rescue Dog Association in 1965.
His name is legendary in most people’s minds that are involved in the outdoors, but especially those that have visited or lived in Glencoe. On my recent visit we stayed only a stone’s throw from the Glencoe Mountain Rescue team centre, and since we had our own Dartmoor Rescue team member with us we began to look into the history and operations a little bit. MacInnes was and still is an incredibly inspirational man. He has achieved so much: from pioneering many new routes in Glencoe to being deputy leader of Bonington’s Everest expedition. As well as being known as the ‘Father of Scottish Mountain Rescue’, he co-founded with Eric Langmuir (another familiar name) the SAIS (Scottish Avalanche Information Service) and is author of many mountaineering reference books including the ‘go to’ International Mountain Rescue Handbook.
Blonde Two and I have been out on various Dartmoor Search and Rescue team training scenarios and made use of the MacInnes stretcher. This is a folding stretcher first designed by him in the 60s for use by rescue teams who obviously found getting a stretcher into the remote parts of the Scottish mountains an almost impossible task. This stretcher is still used across the world today and is an important piece of kit for any rescue team.
He has received the BEM and an OBE for services to mountaineering, and has received honorary doctorates from various Scottish universities.
I would love to be blogging about a meeting with MacInnes but no such luck! Hopefully, while I was in Glencoe he was either happily climbing a mountain or enjoying sitting by a cosy warm fire.