Councillor owes his life to mountain rescue team

Coun Ian Lindley during one of his mountain climbs in Scotland.
Coun Ian Lindley during one of his mountain climbs in Scotland.
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A Morpeth councillor has started efforts to give something back to the mountain rescue organisation that saved his life.

Ian Lindley has spoken to the Herald about what happened on Beinn Achaladair in Scotland earlier this year and his gratitude for the volunteers who assisted him in very difficult wind and snow conditions.

He is now back climbing and he is going up as many Munros as he can in the rest of 2016 to raise funds for Scottish Mountain Rescue. A Munro is a mountain in Scotland that reaches a height of at least 3,000ft (914.4m).

The Northumberland county councillor, who represents the Stobhill ward, fell hundreds of feet through a snow cornice close to the 1,038m summit of Beinn Achaladair – located on the border of the Perth and Kinross and Argyll and Bute council areas.

“Miraculously, I landed on a ledge and my only injury was a severely sprained ankle, and I then managed to climb back over a two-hour slog as I knew I could not be found where I was,” he said.

“However, it was now dark and the tiny snow hole I dug provided little comfort because the wind and snow conditions were the worst I had experienced and the temperature was at least -20 degrees centigrade with the wind chill.

“My companion had alerted mountain rescue and managed to make his way down safely, whilst some light remained, but I was certain conditions were too bad for a search operation to be launched and was preparing to fade away.

“I owe my life to Scottish Mountain Rescue as one of its team found me and got my position back to the others.

“The foulness of the weather can be judged by the fact that my rescuer was initially alone because his search companion had had to turn back when his crampon ‘blew away’ in the wind, which was too strong for the helicopter to search near the summit.

“Two other team members then arrived to help him take me down to a point where it was safe to be placed on a stretcher and we then went further down the mountain so I could be taken by helicopter to a hospital in Inverness.

“The medic in the helicopter said I was lucky to be alive.

“It was incredibly humbling that so many people were out looking for me and what happened was a good wake up call.

“I also think it has made me a slightly better person.”

Coun Lindley went back to Scotland for a week during the Easter school holiday period and he climbed up three Munros – Beinn Fhada, Ciste Dhubh and Sgurr a’Mhaoraich.

Scottish Mountain Rescue, an independently registered charity, is a co-ordinating body for volunteer mountain rescue teams in Scotland.

“I’ve been walking and climbing since the age of 11 and I didn’t want to lose that, so I felt it was very important to get my nerve back as soon as possible,” said Coun Lindley.

“I also wanted to give something back to the life-saving organisation, so I decided that I could achieve these two goals by climbing as many Munros as I can fit in during the rest of 2016.

“I felt a lot better after completing the first of these climbs and I’m looking forward to going back to Scotland in the near future.”

For more information and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ian-Lindley