Bolton Mountain Rescue Team once more gains an operational Search Dog capability, congratulations to Handler Steve Nelson and “Initial Grade” Trailing Search Dog Boris

It is a few years since with the retirement of SARDA England Dog Handler Dave Marsh and his air scenting mountain rescue Search Dog Chi, the team lost an internal search dog capability.

Since this time experienced team call out list member Steve Nelson has been undertaking the very long and rigorous training involved in becoming a Trailing Search Dog Handler, assisted to a huge degree (Obviously) by his excellent dog Boris!

Trailing Dogs are in use by mountain rescue teams within England and Wales in very small numbers compared to the much more common mountain rescue air scenting dogs.

Whilst the traditional mountain rescue search dogs work on an air scent and off the lead, Trailing dogs are oriented to scent which has drifted to the ground downwind of a person’s route of travel, and may work some distance from the actual ‘footsteps.’ such dogs work off a ‘scent article,’ and will scent on a specific person.

Currently such dogs are assessed and trained via SARDA Wales, with only one operational Trailing Dog Team based in England ; Handler Iain Nicholson and Trailing Dog Mij from Leyland, who work within Bowland Pennine MRT, with Iain regularly assisting the Bolton MRT on missing person search operations.

Well now there are two such dog teams, as tonight we have learnt that following assessment and many years of training, Steve Nelson and Boris have been graded today as a ‘Initial Grade’ Trailing Search Dog Team, and as such can now attend operational call outs.



This gives the Bolton MRT once more an integral and internal to the team, search dog unit, and also as such units operate regionally and even nationally, a Trailing Dog asset that is of importance on a national basis.

The whole team wishes to extend our fullest congratulations to Steve and Boris for all their hard work in achieving this operational Trailing Dog status.

Thanks are also expressed to the many persons who have helped Steve and Boris to qualify, not least Steve’s family, but also our former Dog Handler Dave Marsh and Trailing Dog colleague Iain Nicholson, amongst many others.

Once Steve returns from his assessment weekend, a more detailed report on this fantastic personal achievement for him and Boris will appear here within our website ‘News’ section.