LOMOND MRT HISTORY
As the Team swiftly approaches its 50th anniversary (in 2017) it is easy to forget its humble origins. Where a group of friends and enthusiasts, with a love of the mountains, started Lomond MRT on the path to where it is today.
The Lomond Mountain Rescue Team was set up in 1967 and is the longest serving of the three teams in Central Scotland. It was started by a small number of local people living in the Drymen and Aberfoyle areas. Amongst those involved at the time were John Mason who ran a small motor engineering company, Frank Bracewell who was a planning officer for Stirlingshire Council, Bob Ralston who managed one of the 'Scottish Centres' in Aberfoyle (Dounans) and Sandy Seabrook who was an outdoor activities instructor at the time.
Sandy was the first team leader and held the position for 25 years until his retiral in 1993. Sandy established the team and did very much to promote the importance of mountain rescue in Central Scotland in the '60s, '70s and '80s (pictured far right in the centre)
As with many teams in their early days, the amount of official equipment was minimal and members used their own gear on call outs. As a reminder of those early days, the team still possesses (but does not use) a couple of Thomas leg irons and a Mark 1 MacInnes stretcher complete with string bed.
A small private garage in Drymen was the team's rescue post for many years. The garage was also used to store the village newspapers before they were collected by a recycling merchant. This meant that every month the Team's vehicle and associated bits of equipment had to fight for space with mounting piles of old newspapers. When the battle with the papers was finally lost, the official rescue post was moved to the nearby village of Balfron.
The team's vehicle at the time was a second hand Austin Gypsy (above left) which was fondly referred to as 'ALF' (from its registration plate). The name ALF has since been carried over to subsequent generations of Landrovers.
One of the earliest rescues by the team was to recover the writer and well known broadcaster Tom Weir who had fallen, whilst rock climbing, on Ben A'An in the Trossachs. Tom had been climbing a new route adjacent to the 'Last 80' when his second took a tumble. Tom was pulled away from his belay and fell over 100 feet...
...sustaining severe injuries. His partner went for help and returned with members of the SMC and two Lomond MRT members.
Team membership was allowed to grow to over 50 during the 1970s and '80s, but current policy holds numbers down to around 35 members on the call out list. The team now meets twice a month on a Thursday evening and once a month for a full days exercise on a Sunday.
The team often works closely with other local rescue teams (Killin, Ochils, Arrochar, Police Scotland MRT Strathclyde) as well as the Loch Lomond Rescue Boat crew and R199 Coastguard helicopter crew, based at Prestwick.
The team continues to provide search and rescue cover within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and further afield when required. Operating from our purpose built base in Drymen. A facility funded, then generously gifted, to the Team by St John Scotland (formerly known as Order of St John)