What’s the story?
I’m on a training exercise with Aberdeen Mountain Rescue, in the Cairngorms near Braemar, to get a flavour of the sort of work these unpaid volunteers do, to keep members of the public like you and me, safe. I also want to know more about the team’s life-saving Defenders.
The Cairngorms National Park is a magnet for mountaineers and mountain bikers, as well as weekend walkers. This stunning scenery safely ‘hosts’ tens of thousands of happy visitors every year. Sadly, this beautiful area of the Highlands is potentially dangerous for the ill-prepared, the unwise and the unlucky.
Our favourite bit?
‘The first vehicle we had was a Forward Control,’ says Alan Rae, one of the team’s longest-serving members who has notched-up 25 years of service. ‘The current fleet consists of four Defenders: a 2004 Td5, a 2008 Td5, a 2011 2.4 TDCi and the latest, a 2014 2.2 TDCi. ‘The 2004 model is up for sale because we’ve got a 2.2 TDCi on order for delivery in February.
The team has a dedicated four-wheel equipment trailer and two Ifor Willams trailers, so fitting a towbar to each Defender is an obvious choice, as is heavy-duty suspension. Alan’s preferred tyres are Goodyear Wrangler MTR, ideally on heavy-duty Wolf rims. If these aren’t available, next best are BF Goodrich
Mud-Terrains on steel modular rims. The finishing touch is, of course, the ‘blues and twos’ – lights and sirens to you and me.
And the verdict from LRO writer Mark Saville?
The Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team displays a level of enthusiasm, commitment and skill rarely equalled in other walks of life.
It’s great to know that they’re there, with their Defenders, when we need them.
● Engine TDCi 2.4-litre four-cylinder
● Transmission Six-speed manual gearbox, permanent four-wheel drive
● Power and torque 122bhp @ 3500rpm, 265lb ft @ 2000rpm
● Suspension Standard
● Wheels and tyres Goodyear MTR, Wolf alloy wheels
● Winch Warn 9.5 Ti
● Extras PIAA lights, Webasto heater, Clarke’s mast