Mr Whalley, left, joins team members, friends and family at the official opening. Photo: Angus Mackie/Scotland360

Mr Whalley, left, joins team members, friends and family at the official opening. Photo: Angus Mackie/Scotland360

A mountain rescue luminary officially opened a team’s new base in the Highlands.

Dave ‘Heavy’ Whalley performed the ceremony at Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team’s Dingwall centre.

The team of local volunteers, which provides a mountain rescue service over a huge area of the northern Highlands, raised £185,000 to fund the new base which, for the first time in the team’s eastern area, provides a secure garage for vehicles, a training room and stores.

Team chair Keith Bryers said: “We are finding it a great asset as a muster point on being called out by Police Scotland and for training events.”

The team already has rescue posts at Dundonnell, Ullapool and Gairloch, with vehicles based at these locations along with Dingwall. Members are spread throughout the various communities in the team’s area.

It has about 40 volunteers whose territory covers 2,600 sq miles of rugged and remote mountainous terrain, including Coigach, An Teallach, Fisherfield and Letterewe, the Fannichs, Beinn Dearg, Ben Wyvis, Glen Affric, Mullardoch and Strathfarrar and Monar, going as far south as Invermoriston and taking in 40 munros and some 75 other mountains of note.

Mr Bryers thanked the project’s main funders the Robertson Trust; sportscotland; Stafford Trust, Crerar Hotels Trust; SSE Fairburn Community Windfarm Trust; Robert Barr Trust; Foyle Foundation; Basil Samuel Trust; Nancy Massey Trust; the Great Wilderness Challenge; Lochluichart Community Trust; WM Mann Trust; AMW Trust; Scottish Mountaineering Trust; Strathconon & Scardroy Estate; Letterewe Estate and Lifescan Scotland.

Mr Whalley is well known in the world of mountain rescue, having been a member of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service for 36 years. He was the team leader at RAF Leuchars, RAF Kinloss and deputy team leader at RAF Valley in north Wales.

He was the senior team leader at the Lockerbie disaster and was involved in more than 1,000 mountain and over 80 aircraft incidents in mountainous areas. ‘Heavy’ was awarded the BEM, MBE and the distinguished service award for mountain rescue. He has climbed in most parts of the world and has completed the munros several times and was a member of the successful 2001 Everest north ridge expedition.

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