Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Legislation I Would Approve
Nine hillwalkers, including six teenagers, were rescued yesterday from one of Scotland's highest mountains.
Grampian police, a mountain rescue and a Royal Navy helicopter mounted a search and rescue operation which resulted in the nine being airlifted to safety from the Ben MacDui area of the mountains. The group are all said to be unharmed and healthy after being caught in the snow overnight.
For the past week snow has been forecast for higher ground in Scotland. Anyone with a modicum of common sense would realise that means the mountain areas and if they had done any forward planning whatsoever, they would realise the mountains of Scotland are notorious for their rapidly changing conditions. At times the weather is unpredictable but advanced weather warnings for this week were highlighted throughout the media.
These people were either foolish or ignorant - maybe a bit of both - to attempt hillwalking when heavy snow was forecast.
Regular readers will know that I seldom approve of hastily prepared legislation but for many years I've advocated legislation which ensures the taxpayer is refunded when people take to the hills in such circumstances. The mountain rescue service are against charging fees for recovery because they want their service to be free for all, but surely, if rescue fees were charged, they would be a deterrent to those who think they can conquer the hills when advised against it.
Yesterday's rescue had a happy ending but it's not always the case. Legislation which ensured the foolhardy paid a financial fee for their rescue could help swell the coffers of the mountain rescue service and make many think twice about the chances they take. Not only do they risk their own lives in such situations but the lives of their rescuers.