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How to join Longtown Mountain Rescue Team

The most important requirements for membership of Longtown Mountain Rescue Team are availability and commitment, together with a significant personal competence in ‘mountaincraft’, including navigation. Whilst wider existing technical skills and experience may be helpful, it is this commitment and availability which are the most important factors in our recruitment decision – many of the specific rescue-oriented technical skills are relatively straightforward to teach to people with this basic competence and with an appropriate commitment to learning. 

Longtown Mountain Rescue Team relies on committed volunteers, who are able both to respond to call-outs and to attend regular training sessions, which are needed to reach and maintain the very high level of skills required to operate safely and effectively in highly challenging environments, and to deal with a wide range of rescue scenarios. The recruitment and training process can take 2 years and we operate a system of taking on small groups of prospective members generally once a year.

Training sessions are held at least three times a month – two evening sessions and one weekend exercise. In addition, there are specialist training sessions team members may have to attend, for example in casualty care, swift water and flood rescue, crag rescue, and a range of technical and equipment focused training. We also have joint exercises with other rescue teams in South Wales teams. Members are also expected to play a part in the team’s fund-raising and other associated activities.

Callouts are obviously unpredictable, and can happen on any day and at any time. Team members are not expected to attend every single callout, but the ability to attend a significant proportion of callouts is a central element in the team’s recruitment decisions.

If you are interested in becoming a member of Longtown Mountain Rescue Team, please initially contact the Team Membership Secretary, giving some basic background and the reasons for your interest.

Please note, there is currently a long waiting list of people interested in joining the team, and even for experience people, it could be many years before you are contacted about possible recruitment.

Depending on the current situation and need for recruitment, you may be asked to complete an initial skills and experience assessment form. Although the skills list covers all aspects of mountain rescue, this is designed just to give the team an idea of your current level of knowledge, and we do not expect prospective members to be proficient in all subjects at the start. The most important requirements are to have a good basic mountaineering knowledge and competence, and to be able to commit to attend regular training sessions in order to learn the wide range of rescue skills necessary.

The pathway to full membership

The pathway from being accepted as a ‘Prospective Member’ to full membership can take up to 2 years. Prospective members remain non-operational until they are able to demonstrate safety and competence in the mountains, and a basic knowledge and skills across a range of the team’s operating tasks and equipment. At this stage, at the discretion of the Team Leader, they will become ‘Probationary Members’.

This Probationary Member period can last up to two years, during which core training continues, but members are now able to attend call outs as supervised members of a party. When Probationary Members have consistently demonstrated a high level both of skills and commitment to the team’s operations, a wide-ranging assessment of skills has to be passed before eventually becoming a Full Member.

Training, however, continues throughout full team membership, as it does for all members, no matter how experienced. This ensures that all the important skills are updated and maintained to the highest level throughout the team