It was with sadness that the team learnt of the death of Alan Wise, Kelso High School Science teacher, geologist, rock guitarist and a long time BSARU team member before he retired to his beloved Keswick. A Cumbrian who never lost his thick accent. “Ye wazzock’ a favoured phrase. To learn more about Alan I refer you to the comments posted on the team’s Facebook tribute.
With the restrictions of covid there has been a welter of training opportunities this year via the media of zoom and the internet. Team members have had online tuition on ‘Winter Avalanche Problems’ from Bill Strachan of Cairngorm MRT, and ‘Water Safety’ in connection with riverbank searches, from Howard Crook of Water Rescue. In addition, MR team members had access to the Mountain Training Scotland’s ‘Winter Mountain Leader – Snow and Avalanches’ course.
Avalanche debris on Moneylaws Hill, Mindrum, taken on the 14th of February 2021, by team member Scott Thompson.
Team members could also attend Basics Scotland’s ‘Virtual Conference - Hypothermia: An International Approach’. This was a weeklong conference with two guest speakers each night. Given recent research it was reassuring to learn that the team approach to treating hypothermic casualties was still standard practice as this is one of the most common problems encountered in the rescue scenario.
Add to this a monthly team meeting and you may see why team members will welcome the prospect of training as a group in the outdoors once again.
In the meantime, on a Thursday evening, groups of 4 socially distanced have taken part in 3 search scenarios near Kelso High School. Residents nearby may have been aware of systematic whistles and torchlight as members practiced a light and sound search technique designed to attract a response from lost individuals. The other 2 scenarios involved a line search looking for possible clue items and a comparison of a hasty and a slow search in the uncovering of clue items.