Team training this evening, wet feet all round for everyone – well nearly everyone, taking part

This evening, our weekly training exercise took place fully in the dark, as late summer is flowing in to autumn.

Our training exercise venue was the lower reaches of Lead Mines Valley (which is actually within our colleague teams, Bowland Pennine MRT primary operational area) on the fringes of Anglezarke Moor.

Leaving our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ at 19.30hrs, team members started assembling in the lower reaches of Lead Mines Valley / Limestone Clough for the 20.00hrs start, and immediately we had a minor glitch.

Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team husband and wife members Tom and Fiona Singleton, had kindly volunteered to journey from their Wirral home to be our exercise casualties for the evening, the trouble was we were ready to start at 20.00hrs, and they were delayed after being stuck in a motorway traffic jam on the M6!

So Plan B …. Team Training Officer Alistair Greenough went off and ‘hid’ himself in the lower reaches of Lead Mines Valley to occupy our Trailing Search Dog Handler Steve Nelson, Trailing Search Dog Boris and their navigator / assistant for the evening, our Chairman Craig Lamb.

20150909_214256The other team members present meanwhile practised the noble and ancient mountain rescue art of ‘group milling’ and taking the mickey out of each other!

By 20.25hrs Tom and Fiona arrived, and team members Mike Marsh and Steve Fletcher took them both to their ‘exercise casualty’ location, which was in the wooded rock gorge section of Lead Mines Valley, immediately by the plunge pool at the base of a twenty foot high waterfall.

To ‘rescue’ the hapless two, off went the rest of the team, arriving to find Tom mimicking a fractured femur, and Fiona ‘being too scared’ to move.

Team member David Cook, our Equipment Officer – Water (somewhat aptly given the location) became the willing volunteer (well he was told he was in charge!) to sort out Tom and Fiona’s predicament.

Tom was very convincing as a casualty with a fractured femur, with a stretcher evacuation decided upon, whilst Fiona was ‘walking wounded’ only.

For the purposes of the exercise, the stretcher evacuation route was downstream staying in the water course at all times, with incredibly slippy rocks, knee deep pools of water, and fallen down trees all adding to the fun of the evening – with a few late summer midges thrown in for final effect!

By 22.00hrs all was complete, back at our vehicles RVP, with virtually everyone now suffering early onset trench foot, except for a nice and warm, very dry Tom singleton, who had enjoyed the delights of a stretcher evacuation.

In total twenty one team members took part in tonight’s exercise, which amongst other things proved that ‘Yeti’ type gaiters do not keep the water out, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE – despite popular belief, cannot actually walk on water, and that we can all still smile despite being immersed underfoot in freezing cold water for over a hour.

At the exercise conclusion, a large number of team members went for a post exercise social drink at Bobs Smithy Public House on Chorley Old Road.

Many thanks to Tom and Fiona Singleton of Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team for being tonight’s exercise casualties, and journeying from such a distance away in the Wirral to help.

Many thanks for the pictures accompanying this report which were supplied by Tom Singleton, Chairman of Merseyside Search and Rescue.

In supplying these pictures, Tom kindly emailed our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE with the following;

“Many thanks for the invite to your training as ever, and thanks to your stretcher parties for a very comfortable carry out from a casualty perspective; was nearly nodding off at times!”