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Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team leader stands down; Leader hails 'amazing pool of talent' in Ross-shire team

By Hector MacKenzie

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THE leader of a mountain rescue team which provides a voluntary 24/7 search and rescue service in some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of Ross-shire is to stand down later this month.

Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team's volunteers are on standby to offer help to anyone in difficulty on the hills, mountains or crags in an area spanning more than 2600 sq. miles.

Donald MacRae, who has been involved with the team for more than 30 years, announced this week he is to stand down at the end of the month.

He said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as team leader but I believe it is vital to the success of the organisation that we provide leadership opportunities to others. We have an amazing pool of talent within the team and this has made my job as leader so much easier.

"I want to publicly thank everyone in the team for willingly giving up their time to support our work. It’s been a busy year with almost 3000 rescue hours, covering a range of rescues, from those fallen in the mountains, to extensive searches for missing people. A very much invisible element of our work is the immense training we undertake every year to ensure that we can deliver a first-class service. This year, this amounts to almost 5000 training hours, all willingly undertaken and all voluntary.

"Everything we do is centred on providing a better service to those in need. At times we need to deliver this service in very challenging circumstances. I want to take a moment to remember those families who we have supported following the loss of a loved one. Sadly, this year we have had five fatalities in the mountains. During my time as Team Leader I have taken on a lead role in developing Wellbeing support for all our members."

He added: "Folk may not be aware that we work on behalf of Police Scotland, in providing a search and rescue service; I want to thank all the officers for all their support. Over the years, we have built strong relationships leading to highly effective partnership working, providing better outcomes for the public. I have had the pleasure of being in Dundonnell MRT for over thirty years. I look forward to continuing an active role within the team and nationally. I know that whilst I maybe stepping down, I have every confidence in the successive leadership team."

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