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Cairngorm John: A Life in Mountain Rescue by [Allen, John]
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Cairngorm John: A Life in Mountain Rescue Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Filled with anecdotes and compassion this book takes the reader deeply into the world of mountain rescue, more deeply into the hills themselves than many more direct appreciations. Cairngorm John: A Life in Mountain Rescue is by turns exciting, funny, informative and wise, an indispensable addition to the literature of the mountains. --Sir Chris Bonington in his Introduction.<br /><br />'I had to put on several layers just to read this book. It makes Touching the Void seem like a pretty routine day on the hill.' --Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald<br /><br />Reflects on decades of service saving lives in the mountains . . . measured . . . a hilarious example of how things have changed [from] the tough, self-reliant world John Allen grew up in . . . if you want an in-depth look at the challenges facing mountain rescue, and the immense contribution it makes, then Allen's book is an invaluable source. --Ed Douglas in Climber Magazine

'I had to put on several layers just to read this book. It makes Touching the Void seem like a pretty routine day on the hill.' --Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald

Reflects on decades of service saving lives in the mountains . . . measured . . . a hilarious example of how things have changed [from] the tough, self-reliant world John Allen grew up in . . . if you want an in-depth look at the challenges facing mountain rescue, and the immense contribution it makes, then Allen's book is an invaluable source. --Ed Douglas in Climber Magazine

About the Author

For over thirty years John Allen was an active member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and for most of them acted as Team Leader.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7503 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Sandstone Press (12 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908737484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908737489
  • ASIN: B00AXZ5NEU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. I read it in one long sitting- a sleepless night, actually.

John Allen is a vastly experienced mountain rescuer, having been a member of the Cairngorm MRT for many years and latterly serving as its Leader. The book relates many accounts of rescues in the high Cairngorm and alongside them tells the tale of a developing team and its members.

Here I must admit a personal interest; I have a background in MR [not in Scotland] and may well be disposed to find enthralling many things written on the subject. There is actually quite a literature touching on MR in the UK- from Gwen Moffat and Hamish McInnes to Bob Maslen Jones and the somewhat less estimable work by John White. What Allen brings to the literature is a sense of the work of an MRT in the round- not only the high-profile rescues and searches, but the mundane fundraising and administration that necessarily accompany a proudly voluntary and unpaid organisation.

We learn much of the author's life outside MR and something of his upbringing in Glasgow. He clearly draws out the links between his professional life as a pharmacist and businessman and the ways he used protocols and procedures in the work of his Team. I admit to being a little amused by his emphasis on discipline within the Team: many people would say that trying to organise mountaineers, that most independent group of individuals, is like herding cats and I have respect for anyone who feels that discipline can be imposed on them.

So, you get a book full of adventures, some with happy endings but all too many involving loss of life and serious injury. You get a feel for how a busy Highland Team is run and how it works on the hill.
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Format: Hardcover
Coming home from the Scottish hills in winter, perhaps after a storm had brewed up, friends and I would often wonder if people had got caught out in the Cairngorms. Sometimes we would read the next day in the papers of missing or dead people. A number of incidents stick in mind: the tragic death of a child out for a walk with her father and brother; the bizzare case of a woman who managed to elude the rescue services for several days, and on being found claimed to have recieved visions preventing her from walking over cornices.

So it was with great interest I read Cairngorm John. These incidents, and more, are brought to life by the man who was at the centre of mountain rescue in the Cairngorms for years. Not all are tragedies: there are the hilarious stories of the yeti hunters, the incredible cheerfulness and resilience of a climber who broke several bones and was stuck upside down in a waterfall for several hours, and a touching story of a man and his son bonding in the hills. We get the inside story on these, and on the team's relationship with police and RAF, and the challenges and responses of professionalism on the amateur volunteers.

Above all, John is a team player, which shines through in the slower-paced stories. I couldn't do what the likes of John did, but I'm grateful that folks like him and his volunteers are ready to come out in all weathers to help walkers and climbers in distress. As an inside look in the work of a mountain rescue team - and, by example, of what to do to improve your odds of coming home in one piece - this is going to be on the shelves of everyone who heads regularly for the Scottish hills.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came across this book merely by accident because, unlike most mountain books that stack my shelf or I'm waiting in anticipation for release, I had no idea that this one existed. However, I accidentally came across it on Amazon after searching on "Cairngorm".

The book is a valuable insight into the Mountain Rescue services and one particular team (the Cairngorm MRT) that faces the dangers of both summer and winter seasons on a yearly basis. The book explains how the Cairngorm MRT was developed, which is very interesting, but also how one or two key rescues changed the MRT SOPs and attitudes towards other services and the public themselves. The book does describe the less known aspects of the MRTs outside the general public knowledge and that is one of recovering bodies on the mountain and this dark side to the role is yet another aspect that we take for granted by the MRT in Scotland, England and Wales.

As someone that holds the ML and has also faced a savage winter experience in the Cairngorms, that resulted in our little group heading desparately for Shelter Stone in a total white out and with a member showing signs of fatique and hyperthermia, I can only take my hat off to the lads in the MRT that do what I did (i.e. bring the group to safety) on what is sometimes a day to day basis. On that particular occasion, two of out three of us had winter or survival training and therefore we managed to walk back down to the Ski Centre the next day but it is certainly reassuring that in different circumstances a team as professional as the Cairngorm MRT would have been on standby to help if necessary.

Anyone who wonders why the UK MRTs are not full paid professionals (they are professionals in their own right) should read this book and learn the opinions of one particular leader and the general opinions of those that do this without pay but certainly with a great deal of well deserved pride.
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