2021 was the busiest year on record for Scotland’s volunteer mountain rescue teams

Brave vounteers who save lives on Scotland’s hills and mountains experienced their busiest year on record in 2021, attending 660 incidents of which 19 were fatalities.

By Stephen Wilkie
Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:09 pm

The Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) statistics report shows the number of incidents it attended last year was up from 497 in 2020.

There were 951 separate team call-outs, which includes linked call-outs on different days, up from 715 in 2020. Several of the deaths were on Ben Nevis, the country’s highest peak.

The report includes data gathered from 25 SMR civilian member teams as well as three Police Scotland Mountain Rescue Teams (MRT) and one RAF MRT.

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Volunteers venture out in all conditions to save lives on Scotland's peaks

SMR team members volunteered 31,799 hours in 2021, up from 24,401 in 2020, to attend call-outs, making it the busiest year on record for SMR member teams.

Kev Mitchell, SMR vice-chairman, said: “We are pleased to produce our statistics review 2021, it has been an extremely busy year for our volunteer mountain rescue teams.

“This illustrates the huge commitment shown by team members and their families to ensure that hill-goers have a free, world-class mountain rescue service when they need it throughout Scotland.”

During 2021, teams helped 715 people. Four incidents involved the rescue of dogs, and two saw the rescue of sheep.

Rescue teams rely on back-up from the Coastguard and its fleet of helicopters

There were 19 deaths over the year, seven of which occurred in mountaineering incidents.

The report noted that call-outs in some, often more remote, regions such as the Highlands and islands, Dumfries and Galloway, and Ayrshire, have remained fairly stable in recent years.

However other areas closer to urban centres have seen “notable increases” in call-outs, it said.