Residents of Selkirk who looked skywards on Saturday would likely have seen a lot of activity involving an RAF helicopter, writes Kenny Paterson.
However, it was not rushing off to the aid of endangered member of the public, rather the aircraft was taking part in a search training exercise with the Selkirk-based Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team.
The Sea King helicopter travelled up from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland and gathered a large crowd when it arrived at Selkirk High School playing fields on Saturday morning, as TVMRT members were briefed on the safety aspects when working with such aircrafts.
The pilots gave children the chance to look around the helicopter before starting the training exercise which involved a search for a missing walker who had slipped and required medical treatment.
The location of the casualty was not fully known so the TVMRT members were divided into three groups and taken by helicopter to their search areas which included the Three Brethren, Peat Law and Foulshiels Hill.
The team members were winched to the ground from the hovering helicopter before beginning their searches. And when the ‘casualty’ was located near Long Philip Burn and first aid administered, TVMRT crew evacuated them to their Land River ambulance.
In total, 22 members were involved in the exercise.
Steve Penny, TVMRT leader, said: “All members of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team are volunteers who train regularly in order to maintain the skills required to assist those missing or injured within the teams operational area.
“Search and rescue helicopters are a valuable asset when available during an incident and it is important that all team members are able to work safely with them.
“I’d like to thank the aircrew for the time they spent with the local youngsters showing them around the aircraft; perhaps we may see some of them as future search and rescue pilots or TVMRT members.
“Finally, I’d like to thank all the staff and crew of RAF Boulmer in Northumberland for taking the time to train with TVMRT.”
Ray Smith, TVMRT training officer, added: “Although the team train every Wednesday evening and one weekend per quarter, its activity is most visible when we are training or working with search and rescue aircraft.
“We use a variety of training scenarios to equip members with the skills required of a mountain rescue team.”