Work is already underway to create a base for the Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team (HebMRT) which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
But there is a whole lot of official fundraising going to be needed to bring the plan to completion.
Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team has a core of 20 team members, ready to respond to an emergency in the hills or in any remote and rural part of the Western Isles. HebMRT do not self task, but are called out by Police Scotland. As well as assisting with searching for lost and missing persons in the hills, the team also assists with searches in urban areas when someone is reported missing.
Along with other emergency services and community partners, the team also assist at times of storms and extended power cuts, to provide support to vulnerable households, knocking on doors to make sure residents are safe and well. The team are also called upon to assist crofters in rescuing sheep which have wandered over cliff edges. This keeps the crofters safe from harm and provides extra training opportunities for the team.
The team currently operates out of rented premises on Church Street, Stornoway, directly across the road from the Police Station, but they are in the process of building a new team base on Ravens Lane, just down the road from Western Isles Hospital. The steel framed building (including all installations, water, sewage and electrical connections, electrics, plumbing and joinery works, car parking, fencing etc) is going to cost in the region of £160,000.
The team are indebted to McLaughlin & Harvey, the main contractors at the new care home site on Perceval Road, who have very generously assisted the team with the initial groundworks, free of charge. They came on site, cleared out all the soil and purchased and spread over 200 tonnes of infill, so that the site is now ready for the next phase.
George McEwan (Site Manager for McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Ltd) at the new care home site has been of great assistance to the team. McLaughlin & Harvey have saved the team several thousand pounds and have helped them to get the project started.
The team are in the process of applying to various grant making bodies and will be busy over the coming months in trying to get all the funds in place, to make the new building a reality.
HebMRT are just back from a weekend of winter training in the Cairngorms as well as completing a 2-day quad course over in Uig. They have many assets at their disposal including three vehicles, two quads, a drone, a thermal imaging camera (which can locate missing people through fog and mist up to a mile away) and a wide range of rope rescue equipment.