Ian Cameron

21/05/2021

Update to all members of the BLAIRGOWRIE andDISTRICT HILLWALKING CLUB.

Well, who would have predicted this a year ago! We have found ourselves Globally in a position more akin to a Steven Spielberg movie than life as normal, whatever “normal” is/was. This Silent Killer is one of the worst enemies’ mankind has encountered in living memory and crept up on us under the cover of ignorance. This has perhaps highlighted what a fragile lot, we humans are.       Is this our “Wake upcall”?

Firstly, I hope you, your families and friends are all well and have been able to avoid this dreadful virus which has descended upon us.  I would like to thank everyone for staying local and for keeping our rescue teams quiet. It means more to them, than perhaps we know.

Only by acting as a community can we get ourselves back to a position where we can enjoy the hills together.  We, in our Club, are all very much missing the hills, as everyone else who enjoys them is.

Here in Scotland the situation is still no different to what most of the world has experienced recently with limited access to exercise, somewhat different to what we were accustomed to. Mountaineering Scotland, Scottish Mountain Rescue, Police Scotland, and Mountain Training Scotland have formed a Mountain Safety Group and have joined resources to advise the Scottish Government on a course of action to allow us to safely return to the hills. We can be sure that this group will give the best advice available and should be respected when it is fully announced. In the meantime, the Scottish Government advice is clear, essential travel only, no driving for our exercise. (please note this advice may have changed in the rapidly changing situation, since time of writing).

You may ask, “What if I live local to a hill, can I go up then?” The advice would appear to me, to be slightly more complicated but essentially no, not up a larger hill. The advice is to stick to paths and tracks lower down. Mountaineering Scotland have advised us not to try and interpret the advice in such a way as to enable us to continue with our hobby at the moment. Do not look for loopholes, think more in the spirit of what we are trying to achieve as a community.

No one sets off for a day in the hills expecting to be rescued. However experienced and knowledgeable you may feel you are; statistics show most rescues are the result of simple slips and trips. Possibly, there are dangers incurred by “staying at home” but the consequences of an injury are significantly greater in the hills. It is a question of resources required. Mountain rescues are resource intensive. If you are injured at home, you can either transport yourself for treatment or if more serious you will be attended by 2fully equipped ambulance crew members in one vehicle.

It only takes one slip, trip or fall in the high hills andour Search and Rescue teams’ services will be required. That means 10, 20, 30team members (depending on the incident) coming to help, a helicopter crewcoming to assist, an ambulance on standby, Police coordinating and before youknow it you have brought up to 50 or more people out.

Even if rescue teams have sufficient PPE, it is not designed for use in the outdoor environment or when undertaking hard physical activity. So, not only you, but the MR team and their household, when they return home, are at a greater risk.               The message is clear: StaySafe, Stay Local, Stay Well.

. The committee have held a “committee meeting” via “Zoom” and we felt it was time to update members on several issues discussed and relevant to all members.

The Club position is unchanged from the previous noticeon the cancelation of all walk meets until further notice.

The AGM which was due to be held at the end of March, will take place later, when Government restrictions permit. Time and location will be confirmed as soon as this information is available.

The current Committee have agreed to continue “In office”until an election of Office Bearers can be held at an AGM.

Club Membership Fees are now due, and the Committee encourage members to renew their membership at their earliest convenience. This year fees will remain unchanged, we have agreed to retain the fees set for the previous two years.

The BBQ planned for July has been postponed. There will be a revised date issued shortly and is likely to be sometime in August.  This will be reassessed nearer the proposed new date.

The weekend meet in October 2020, planned for RUM, has been cancelled. It is hoped to rearrange this event in October 2021.  Return of Payments- Rum Accommodation: Could those members who have paid £61.50 to the club to book their hostel accommodation on Rum please contact Richard Townsend, to confirm their preference for arrangements to refund them (with sort code and account number details if they prefer a bank transfer or confirmation of address if they would prefer a cheque).

It makes sense for the prize draw (entry £10 each) and prize raffle(Which would have resulted in the Winner receiving an exciting new Prize) toremain on hold pending further clarity of when we can get out and about again.

The Club website will be updated very shortly with the programme of walks and activities which were planned pre-Covid 19, but please bear in mind all activities have been cancelled/suspended until further notice

The finances of the Club remain relatively healthy and it is anticipated that they should remain static.

A provisional date has been set for the Sunday afternoon meal at Littles Restaurant. This is planned for Sunday 29th November 2020. It is hoped that the current restrictions will be a thing of the past by then. The time and cost will be confirmed nearer the date.

And, can I just once again repeat my earlier comment:

STAY SAFE, STAYLOCAL, STAY WELL.

Ian Cameron

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