I’ve always loved the outdoors, and I particularly love walking and hiking in it. Through pastimes such as this you do come across mountain rescue quite a bit, from donation boxes in your local outdoors retailer to seeing the landrovers whizz by on your way back from your walk, sometimes with the helicopters flying overhead.
You hope against hope you’ll never need them yourself, but just in case I’ve always felt it was more than worthwhile to support these guys as much as possible - on the off chance that one day your life might be in their hands.
Browsing Twitter one day I came across a little ad from Calder Valley asking for volunteers to be active supporters for their group. I needed no persuasion, I jumped at the chance to give a little bit more than just a donation – time is precious and all that. I popped down to the base in Mytholmroyd one evening to meet the supporters’ leader – Mick – and was treated to a very warm welcome by all. He explained to me and a few others that had popped in about what he wanted us for. We were to be extra bodies to help out where needed, important members of the team that were not to be mountain rescuers but we would get training in some areas like first aid and driving the vehicles in non-emergencies. It all sounded very exciting to me! I would have absolutely loved to become a full member but with working full time and raising a young son on my own, I just didn’t have the time or capacity to fit it in. This kind of role was perfect for me, and certainly seems to be for the other people who have also volunteered as supporters too.
So far we have had a go at driving the vehicles, had a great day learning outdoor first aid (complete with live action scenarios) and supported on many of the events that the Calder Valley team attend - local events as well as the Tour de France.
We have also helped out at maintenance evenings, checking all the gear on the vehicles is right and ready and volunteered as casualties for team training evenings. I was strapped to a crag at Heptonstall, and of course the rains came and I got first-hand experience of how quickly the body gets cold sat out in the open! We have also been involved with the team socially on their social nights; I went climbing at Heptonstall at the last one, which as a fairly new outdoor climber was great fun and great experience for me.
The supporters as a team themselves are a great bunch too; we have had lots of fun learning all the skills and through that have got to know each other well. Recently we have planned a social outing up Stoodley Pike together and I’m sure there will be more to come.
I’ve had such a good time being a part of CVSR team, I only wish I could devote more time to them!