HarrisScotland could have a new mountain rescue team if plans come to fruition.


Photo: Jan Schouten/LewisStudio

The new team would cover the Outer Hebrides, an area presently without mountain rescue cover. Emergencies on the islands’ mountains have to be dealt with by the Coastguard, RAF or Royal Navy teams or by volunteer teams brought in from outside the isles.

Tom Laverty, NHS emergency planning officer for the NHS in the Western Isles, told the BBC Scotland News website the idea was at a very early stage. He said his organisation had had informal talks with some organisations in the Western Isles with a view to establishing a mountain rescue team to cover Harris, Lewis and other islands in the archipelago west of Skye and the Scottish mainland.

The nearest existing MRTs are on Skye and in Kintail, Torridon and Assynt. The RAF rescue teams from Kinloss and Leuchars also respond to emergencies in the Western Isles.

An Cliseam on Harris is the only corbett on the Western Isles, at 799m (2,621ft), and one of the most popular hill routes. Much of the terrain of the Outer Hebrides is remote and windswept, with difficult navigation and few established paths.

Lewis and Harris also have numerous climbing routes, mainly on their sea cliffs.