Evening steep ground stretcher handling exercise

Regular readers will recall on Sunday 6th January 2013, we held an exercise in steep ground stretcher handling on the flanks of the prominent moorland landmark of Rivington Pike.

Well what a difference seventeen days makes, back on the 6th it was damp and misty, tonight we repeated the exercise this time in full winter conditions of snow, ice, a freezing wind and sub zero temperatures. (just compare the photographs accompanying this report with the one from 6th January)

We started in Lower House car park and commenced with a stretcher sledging exercise using ‘drag ropes’ with the team members present basically acting as a ‘husky dog sled team!’ from the ‘Pigeon Tower’ to the base of Rivington Pike.

Here the thirty five members present split into numerous stretcher carrying parties, to get the loaded Bell Mountain Rescue Stretcher up the very steep sides of Rivington Pike.

Once on the top with a bitterly cold (and loud) wind (and a little spindrift) we carried out a series of simple stretcher lowering and raising exercises in the snow, with a long downhill stretcher sledge and carry ending back at Lower House car park, completing the exercise.

During the exercise team members used both crampons and a wide variety of ‘boot / shoe chains’ (From the cheap to the expensive end of the market) to gain a purchase on the extremely icy and compressed snow ground conditions prevailing.

(And our conclusion; the boot / snow chains performed fantastically, whatever the price range)

Thanks to Team call out list member Paul Copley for ‘volunteering’ to be tonights ‘exercise casualty.’

Incidentally by the Pigeon Tower you’ll see an Igloo, (Of sorts) built earlier today by our Team Leader Garry “Ten more blocks will finish it” Rhodes MBE, Vehicles Officer Chris “It’s collapsed again” Greenhalgh, Paul “There’s another gap here” Chisholm and Probationary member Ashley “I never thought I’d be Igloo building when I asked to join the team” Kelshaw.

Get up to the Pigeon Tower at Rivington Terraced Gardens and have a look at ‘our Igloo’ before the thaw starts!