The Scottish Government has chipped in with a donation of £300,000 to mountain rescue services.

The money will be spread across all the teams in Scotland, based on how many call-outs they have had in the last five years. Each of the 31 teams affiliated to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland will get a minimum payment.

The announcement was made by minister for community safety Fergus Ewing, himself a former member of the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team. It preceded the conference of all the UK mountain and cave rescue organisations this weekend at the University of Stirling.

The movement is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Mr Ewing said: “Every year many thousands of Scots and visitors from throughout the world enjoy one of our greatest natural assets: our mountains.

“However, they can also be dangerous places and even expert climbers can find themselves in difficulties and needing help.

“As a former member of the mountain rescue service I am well aware of the vital role Scotland’s mountain rescue teams play in aiding those who end up in difficulty.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting these dedicated, highly professional teams of volunteers and that is why we are giving them £300,000 to ensure that there is a continuing, effective resource for all those who use our hills and mountains.”

Last year, MRTs in Scotland were called out 425 times. The number of call-outs has been rising steadily for a decade.

The Order of St John also provides money to the Scottish rescue services, but about 60 per cent of their running costs are met by the various teams’ fundraising efforts.