>Tragic Accident on Skye

>There are not many weeks when a potential recurrence of the knee injury I have been battling for the past four months would seem so insignificant, but this is well and truly one of them. It is a week I shall remember yet wish I could forget probably for the rest of my life. A week which started with so much anticipation and of course excitement has ended in a very tragic way.

I have just returned from the Isle of Skye and from the Cuillin, those brooding yet magnetic mountains, but ones, like so many, which i have been starkly reminded how dangerous they all can be. I will deliberately keep these details brief since I do not wish more information to be in the public domain than is already the case for the sake of the families of those involved.

For anyone who has ever been involved in dealing with accidents in the mountains, you will know that it is rarely an easy thing to do, when those accidents involve fatalities, well, i at least am finding it almost impossible to comprehend. You can forget cliches, forget criticism or self righteous thoughts, whether intended, well intentioned or simply ill-informed; witnessing a young man fall to their death, being the one person to attend to that person, trying to deal with and console the people left behind is a situation without parallel and not something I would wish on anyone else in the world.

That young man has now been officially named, before that I only knew his first name and that he appeared little older than I, it turned out he was one year younger than I, not a statistic, but a real person, someone whom I had spoken too, who at the time was enjoying being in some of the most dramatic and beautiful mountain scenery we have.

Thankfully his friend was not physically hurt and eventually I was, with the help of one of my colleagues and another instructor able to get him to safety after what seemed like a protracted length of time. In reality it probably was not, but time seems to have few boundaries in these situations.

I would like to thank the one other instructor, who shall remain nameless, for their help and support and of course to the Skye Mountain Rescue Team and Coastguard Helicopter crews. My thoughts go to the families of all of those involved.

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About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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