Report by Team member Phil Horner on MPSRO Joint Training Day held on Saturday 22nd February 2014

On Saturday 22nd February 2014, we reported on our website about the MPSRO Joint Training Day at Burrs Country Park, Bury. (Please see website ‘News’ report dated the same)

Bolton MRT Team Call Out list member Phil Horner attended this successful training day, and his newly published report on the event follows;

Groups from all the different Mid- Pennine MRTs met up for a butty and a brew at 09:00hrs prior to the start of our days training.

A few awkward moments as I met members of Rossendale and Pendle MRT for the first time since I departed their company, they asked what it was like on the dark side. I replied good and we have really nice head torches!

I must have made a really good impression whilst at Rossendale as some members didn’t know I had left, until they saw my Bolton MRT badge.

Groups were organised and the day began with a central lecture on Search management, followed by a small map-exercise that was quite useful. Only having a basic Knowledge of search procedures I found it really interesting.

My next activity involved a presentation outdoors taking Boris the Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog for a walk with Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog Handler Steve Nelson (Bolton MRT / SARDA Wales) and Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Search Dog Handler Alison Nicholson (Bowland Pennine MRT / SARDA England) with her Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Search Dog Floss.

Really good, basically a question and answer session with lots of information on what the Search Dogs can do, and how we can help with a few tips on how not to get in the way when they are working.

Lunch was kindly provided by Elaine, Steve and staff ….. lots of butties crisps and soup.

Unfortunately for our group there followed a presentation indoors on SARMAN, SARCALL & SARLOC. There was nothing wrong with the presentation, quite the opposite in fact. If it had been we would all have been asleep within minutes, there was a bit of nodding but no sleep.

Not being the most technical person in the world it was certainly an eye-opener for me as to the assets available to us.

We were rescued from the indoors with an outdoor session on tracking unfortunately cut short a little bit due to time constraints, it was really good and a must if you’ve never done it before.

In the short time we had it was amazing what we learnt and being able to follow a track on the mini exercise was nearly one of the best parts of the day.

After a quick change around the penultimate session of the day was Water Search & Rescue, provided: by Bolton MRT John Fletcher (Team Equipment Officer – Water) Bolton MRT Elaine Gilliland (MPSRO Regional training Officer) and NEWSAR Team Dani Burgess. This was a really good bit of practical training although Elaine was definitely at risk by our rubbish throwing of the safety line!

They say to leave the best till last, well that definitely was the case with a demonstration by Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog Boris of his tracking skills (And of course his Handler Steve Nelson) following a scent trail laid 8 to 9 hours earlier. Needless to say he found his man and we all had a nice jog to finish the day off!

All in all a right good day!! Especially as I now know what I want to specialise in.

I’m going to be a man tracking dog handling water rescuer and search organiser.

Phil Horner, Bolton MRT.