18th January 2016

Volunteering for Mountain Rescue: Staff Stories

mountain rescue dog sheffield

Belle the mountain rescue dog

Written by Jim, Sales Assistant at the Bike Co-op’s Sheffield store

The emergency services at this time of year have a lot of work on their hands, and mountain rescue teams are no exception. Many people don’t realise this, but mountain rescue teams are run by volunteers who give up a huge amount of their own time towards training and responding to incidents – not only for hillwalkers but also for cyclists. One of Sheffield’s local teams, Edale Mountain Rescue, attended 138 callouts last year!

I do some volunteer work with SARDA (Search and Rescue Dog Association)/Edale Mountain Rescue – although not as much as I should do, I might add. I have a role referred to as “dogs body”, which involves essentially lying out on the moors waiting to be found by the dog and handler – a training method! When I get found I get to play tug or fetch with the dog so it’s quite good fun really.

If not cycling, what do you do when the weather is bad?

One of the guys I work with was telling me a story about a callout they had over the holiday period involving a mountain biker. My first thought was “How awful,” but my second thought was “I’ve really not been riding my bike enough recently.” I was pondering this second thought for a while and feeling a bit bad about my lack of enthusiasm, blaming bad weather (being a wimp). So I decided that rather than feeling bad I should do something positive with this time and get out a bit more with the mountain rescue team.

So the big question I must ask everyone is this: If not cycling, what do you do when the weather is bad?

If you’re at a loose end this winter, why not ask your local mountain rescue (or lowland rescue), or any other cycling related group if they need a hand? Both cycling clubs and trail groups need help, whether it’s with marshalling, digging, or any number of other tasks. Our local trail group Ride Sheffield also hold trail maintenance days once a month with details on their Facebook page, so if you live in  that area then we’d love for you to get in touch.

It’s the perfect way to get out in the great outdoors, especially at a time of year when it’s easy to be lazy, and you’re also giving a helping hand where help is so badly needed. I really enjoy it, and I think you would too.

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