Rory Takes to the Hills with Cumbrian Mountain Rescue
Rory has spent part of his summer recess out walking with Mountain Rescue operations in Cumbria, ahead of giving a keynote talk at the biennial UK and Ireland Mountain Rescue Conference to be held in Leeds next month.
Rory spent a morning climbing Helvellyn with two of the Patterdale Team’s Deputy Team Leaders – Matt Cox and Dan Farley – and a week later walked seven miles by Bassenthwaite with Mike Park MBE, Team Leader of Cockermouth’s Mountain Rescue team. Each outdoor meeting focused on the recently-published Rescue 2020 report, an appraisal of mountain rescue operations which focused on the Lake District. Top of the agenda was discussions about how to co-ordinate more closely with air ambulance and other emergency services – a subject Rory raised in a parliamentary debate before recess. They also discussed the effect of the VAT rebate for mountain rescue that the parliamentary group helped to secure last year. This was followed by a brief meeting with Keswick Mountain Rescue later in Rory’s walk through the constituency, focused on communications technology.
Rory said: “It has been wonderful to walk out onto the fells with some of our Mountain Rescue team leaders, and to experience first-hand the terrain they cover and get a better sense of the excellent work that they do and the issues they are facing. I am committed to getting the best possible deal for our mountain rescue teams across the UK, and to show how Cumbria can take the national lead – particularly in terms of co-operating not only between teams, but with our other emergency services, such as the air-ambulance. I would also like to explore using the sorts of new technology that we are currently trialling here in Penrith and the Border, such as 4G mobile broadband and femto cells, to make mountain rescue operations more effective. They do an excellent job, wonderfully supported by Cumbrian volunteers, and I look forward to seeing much more of them.”
Dan Farley of Patterdale MR said: “Matt Cox and I walked with Rory to the summit of Helvellyn via Red Tarn Beck and Swirral Edge. Rory is known for his walking, whether exploring the length of Afghanistan several years ago or walking around his potential constituency ahead of his election in 2010. En route to Helvellyn we covered all sorts of topics, from the history of the mines and local farming traditions to the various demands on mountain rescuers and our day jobs and backgrounds. Rory was keen to see behind the public side of what we do and to acknowledge the commitment of rescuers, and it was encouraging to hear how open he is to supporting what we do, not only locally but also in government and on a national basis.”
The UK and Ireland Mountain Rescue Conference takes place at the University of Leeds’ Headingley Campus, Leeds from 7th to 9th September. It is the largest gathering of Mountain, Cave and other LandSAR organisations in the UK. For more information please visit http://www.mrconference2012.org.uk/