Last week team members met with Navy 177 from HMS Gannet, Prestwick for our annual training which enables new team members to get familiar with safety procedures/ winching and older team members to renew existing skills.
As with all training with the Navy 177 crew, they are on call and you never really know how long you have them for.
The destinctive noise of the Sea king's rotor blades were heard overhead as the helicopter arrived in Glen Rosa and after a short time the engines were shut down and the crew were heading over to meet us.
The crew discussed safety procedures with team members and then airlifted small groups of us(including search dog Ruby) up into the hills to be dropped off at a requested area.
The crew do their best to get team members as close to this area as possible but sometimes due to weather conditions and the surrounding ground they can only drop us as close as it is safe to do so.
Having a helicopter to assist MR teams is a huge help! They can cover a large search area and an injured casualty can be airlifted and taken to a hospital in minutes rather than hours.
During the last lift of team members, Navy 177 were called upon to assist at a call out up North so had to leave prompt.
Remaining team members returned to the team base and took the argo cat out for the remainder of the afternoon to refresh skills.
As they saying goes " if you're not first, you're last"
A good day working alongside the crew of Navy 177 going over essential skills that we need to familiarise ourselves with for use in a real life call out.
Sea King helicopters have been operating in search and rescue for the last 40 years.
They are the work-horse of SAR and the skills and capability of the crews who operate and assist mountain rescue teams in sometimes extreme weather conditions is comendable.
2014 will see a change in search and rescue operations in the UK as this year the service will be taken over by private contractors and will be an end on an era for the Sea King helicopters that we all know so well.
Helicopter picture by team member David Hogg
SARDA Southern Scotland video click here