In an eventful start to the year, members of the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team swiftly answered their initial call-out for 2024 to assist a woman who encountered a frightening fall while hiking on a hill above Loch Muick. The injured hillwalker, part of a group from Glasgow, slipped on an icy path and descended over 130 feet on the edge of the Balmoral estate on New Year’s Day.
The incident unfolded as two couples explored the picturesque terrain, a popular route frequented by notable figures. The group set out from a bothy near the Spittal of Glen Muick, embarking on what was intended to be a pleasant New Year’s Day stroll.
The alarm sounded at 1 pm on Monday, prompting the immediate dispatch of three members from the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team. Thanks to the assistance of the Inverness-based coastguard search and rescue helicopter, the rescue team was swiftly airlifted to the injured woman’s location.
The woman, described to be in her 20s, had suffered a broken leg due to an unfortunate slip on the treacherous icy path. The rescue team, armed with their expertise and determination, reached the injured hiker, and she was subsequently airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for prompt medical attention.
Malcolm MacIntyre, the support manager with the Braemar MRT, shed light on the incident, emphasizing the challenging conditions the walking group faced. He mentioned that the group was not wearing crampons, a choice that likely worsened the perilous situation given the icy terrain.
“The path was rock solid with ice, so crampons would have likely helped in the conditions,” MacIntyre explained. “The woman slid about 40 metres (131 feet), but she would have hit rocks and heather on the way down. She sustained a significant fractured leg.”
The rapid response of the rescue team played a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of the injured hiker. Despite the challenging circumstances, the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team executed a seamless operation, demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding those who explore the unpredictable landscapes of Scotland.
The rescue operation did not conclude with the evacuation of the injured woman. Four additional team members ascended the hill to assist the remaining members of the walking group, ensuring their safe descent and guiding them back to their vehicle. The entire rescue mission concluded around 5:30 pm, marking a successful effort to navigate the unpredictable challenges posed by the wintry Scottish landscape.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of proper preparation when venturing into the great outdoors, particularly during the winter months. As the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team continues to provide crucial assistance in such situations, it is crucial for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to equip themselves with the necessary gear and knowledge to navigate the ever-changing conditions of the Scottish hills.
The Balmoral estate, renowned for its breath taking landscapes, has long been a destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. However, the incident on New Year’s Day underscores the need for caution and preparedness, even in well-trodden areas. As the injured hiker begins her recovery, the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team stands as a testament to the dedication and skill required to navigate the challenges of Scotland’s rugged terrains and unpredictable weather.