The exercise is taking place on the hills around Crianlarich. Photo: Graham Grinner Lewis CC-BY-2.0

The exercise is taking place on the hills around Crianlarich. Photo: Graham Grinner Lewis [CC-2.0]

Police said members of the public should not be alarmed if they witness police activity on the hills around Crianlarich.

A major mountain rescue exercise, involving more than 70 people, is being staged on Sunday.

Members of the Killin, Lomond and Ochils Mountain Rescue Teams are taking part in the operation, along with Police Scotland officers from the Forth Valley division. The exercise was due to begin at 9am.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Those participating [are] dealing with a scenario which will involve a group of four missing walkers.

“To add to the complexity of the incident, a second scenario will be added later in the day to test the response and will involve a further two casualties. The exercise is expected to end at sunset.

“The exercise will allow police and volunteers to plan and prepare for search and rescue incidents in the mountains of Forth Valley. Therefore, members of the public may notice increased emergency services activity in certain areas around Crianlarich. However they should not be alarmed by this increased presence.

“The exercise will not affect day-to-day policing or emergency service responses, which will continue as normal throughout the exercise.”

PC William Diamond, mountain rescue co-ordinator for the Forth Valley area, said: “Winter is one of the most dangerous times of year for those taking part in mountain activities. As the temperature and number of daylight hours decrease, the stakes for both police, volunteers and those being rescued become much higher.

“We make use of a range of specialist resources to assist in locating those who are lost and injured in the mountains, including helicopters and search dogs. However it is the local mountain rescue teams who undertake the vast majorities of searches and rescues.

“The three mountain rescue teams within the Forth Valley area are Killin, Lomond and Ochils MRTs. Each team comprises of volunteers who will readily assist those who need help in our mountains. There are also a number of local police officers who are also volunteers within the teams.

“There will be noticeable activity in the Crianlarich area on Sunday and the public can be assured that this all forms part of these live-play scenarios and there is no risk to the public.

“I would also take this opportunity to remind those taking to the hills in Forth Valley this winter to make sure you plan your visit, dress for the weather and know your limits. Remember that the weather conditions on the top of the mountain will be very different to that where you park your car.

“By ensuring that you leave some basic information including your intended route and return time, it can greatly assist rescuers and reduce the time taken to deal with an emergency situation.”

Bill Rose of Killin MRT said: “The three teams train regularly in order to practise their skills, and by working together on an exercise such as this, it allows the sharing of ideas as well as practising how the teams can work together which is often required on larger searches or avalanches.”

Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, divisional commander for Forth Valley said: “Mountain rescues can be difficult and risky for those involved. Therefore it is essential that both police personnel and volunteers have a strong understanding of the risks involved and the difficult and potentially treacherous conditions they could face.

“I would like to thank both the officers and volunteers who are taking part in today’s exercise. It is the culmination of months of planning and we hope the scenarios will be realistic, challenging and complex in nature in order to robustly test those taking part.”

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