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Caithness News Bulletins March 2007

March 2007

February 2007

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  Search And Rescue Dog Association Scotland

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81 Climbers Missing in Glencoe - But It's Only an Exercise This Time
SARDA Scotland handlers will be out in force between 22nd – 25th March to look for 81 missing climbers. It is not a major disaster unfolding, rather the annual SARDA Scotland assessment.

This year, 9 dogs and handlers are being put through their paces and will be judged on each of 9 mountain searches. Only if they consistently find the practice casualties, will dogs be successful.

Allison Todd, a community beat police constable from Inverurie and a member of Grampian Police Mountain Rescue Team is hoping her collie Midge will do well. “I have been training for this for nearly two years. Midge has a brilliant nose, a great temperament and loves people. You could not want a better dog for the job – I only hope the assessors agree!”

The assessment will be a first for an optimistic Innes Beaton, Deputy Team Leader of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and based in Keiss.  “Although all the training to date has been successful, it is nerve-racking wondering whether my collie Skye and I will make the grade.”

Training Officer and old-hand Pete Crichton will be busy. As well as having organised the 10 weekend training courses leading up to the assessment and the annual assessment course, he and Rusty, his collie are being assessed. “Dogs play a vital role in Scottish Mountain Rescue. The assessment ensures that the dogs and handlers we put to searches can safely and competently do the job in all conditions."

Local Dog "Skye" From Keiss Competing

Handlers will know by Sunday evening whether they have passed the assessment. “That is when the hard work really starts, being called at all hours, searching in all weathers then having the long journey home,” jokes Secretary and assessor, Graeme Dalby “but it is all worth it when the missing person is found.”