Our fifth weekly exercise of the New Year, and its still raining ….. will it ever stop

A full day of heavy rainfall did not bode well for this evenings regular weekly team exercise.

Initially facing cancellation due to our being called out (See report for Incident 19 below) and then back on again when we were stood down, the weather forecast was indicating that the rain would stop by the time our exercise was due to commence.

Well guess what, by 19.30hrs, members were ready to depart our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ and it was raining heavy, and became even more persistent as we journeyed to the exercise RVP at the rear of Rivington and Blackrod High School.
Tonight’s scenario was a person lying injured somewhere within the steep sided wooded rock faces of the River Douglas Valley, more popularly known locally as ‘Tigers Clough.’

The exercise incident location had been carefully chosen by team members Chris Greenhalgh and Alistair Greenough the day before, taking full advantage of the very steep, very muddy, very slippy valley sides, our exercise casualty for this evening, team member Matthew Hailwood, had been placed in the moorland stream bed itself, in the water, in a very hard to access location. (Webmaster, Matthew was wearing his dry suit)

Members were deployed to locate Matthew at 20.10hrs, in very heavy rain, with our Trainee Air Scenting Search Dog Handler Paul Chisholm working his Dog Bella up the valley, whilst colleague team member Mike O’Brien acted as his navigator.

A quick ‘find’ by Bella, led to Paul and Mike being able to guide in first of all our advance rescue party and then our main stretcher party.

Utilising hand lines, members accessed the bottom of the steep valley, and Matthew was ‘treated’ for his injuries, with use being made of a Scoop Stretcher to then place Matthew on to our Bell Mountain Rescue Stretcher.

A simple rope haul was then utilised to get Matthew who was now safely on the stretcher, up the very steep valley sides.

A stretcher evacuation downstream then followed, along the very muddy and very wet paths of the valley sides, with no let up with the falling rain.

By 21.45hrs all were back at the team vehicles RVP, practice rescue successfully completed, kit used was reloaded, and then all present journeyed back to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, where the team kit used tonight was washed down, replacement kit reloaded on the vehicles, vehicle interiors were wiped down, drag ropes used tonight were washed and hung to dry, and guess what, it still carried on raining heavy!

In total thirty three Call Out list members took part in tonight’s excellent exercise, all getting very wet (Some wetter than others eh Michael Wakerley!) except for the canny few who managed to stay in the warmth of a Land Rover acting as Radio log and Control for the exercise.

This valley (Tigers Clough) has been the scene of many rescues for the team over the years, some very serious, including at least one night time rescue of a badly injured youth.

Looking ahead to next week, we are indoors so should have at least one dry training event so far this year, and looking further ahead to our exercise of 19th February? Well no doubt it will still be raining then!