WOULD you like to take a summer walk up Ben Lomond with your dog, in the company of other dog lovers and their dogs? Or even without a dog? Could you raise some badly needed funds for a very worthwhile, yet little known charity that trains dogs to help rescue injured hill-goers? Mountain Aid, the hill walker’s charity of which I’m honoured to be patron, is organising a sponsored walk up Ben Lomond to raise funds for SARDA, the Search and Rescue Dogs Association. We’re not barking mad, just trying to show our appreciation and help to raise the profile of the often unsung efforts of SARDA. You don’t need to be a dog owner to take part in this event, a love of the hills and a desire to support SARDA is more than enough. So,as a dog lover, or hill walker, or both, why not enjoy a day out on the hill with like minded people and help this very worthy cause.
The event takes place on Sunday 26 August, from 9.30am onwards. Registration for the event is only £10 plus whatever you can raise in sponsorship, which will be greatly appreciated. Mountain Aid is organising the day and will be manning the summit – with a supply of dog biscuits and a camera – and will be joined along the way by two and four legged members of SARDA. There is more information on www.MountainAid.org.uk or by emailing SARDA@MountainAid.org.uk
The use of dogs for search purposes goes back many years and was brought to Scotland in 1965 by Hamish MacInnes following his visit to an avalanche dog training course in Switzerland. SARDA is a volunteer organisation that trains dogs and handlers in search and rescue techniques. It is regularly called on by police and mountain rescue teams to locate missing persons. Handlers are experienced mountaineers trained in casualty care and, throughout the UK are on call 24/7 every day of the year. All the handlers are members of a mountain rescue team and train with their dogs as volunteers. SARDA relies on public donations to keep running and needs around £12,000 per year to pay for equipment, insurance and training expenses.
Every registered two legged walker will receive a ‘buff’ to wear round their neck to identify them as part of the event, and four legged walkers will receive a special coat. There will be a shelter just below the summit where Mountain Aid volunteers will take commemorative photos and provide doggy treats. Mountain Aid will carry out a litter pick on the way down from the hill, and bags will be available at the start for anyone wishing to help
So – why not register today for a good day’s walk, maybe your dog’s first Munro, and contribute to a very worthwhile charity. (more information at www.MountainAid.org.uk )