The chances are, you’ll never need them. But should you have an accident  in the mountains,  there’s a network of organisations out there ready to help you.

There’s the Mountain Rescue, staffed by dedicated volunteers (and  Climb it Range’s very own Jim, in the Ogwen Valley group).  Should things get really serious there’s the RAF Search and Rescue team who can be called in to helicopter people to safety.

News that the service  is being privatised was dominated by speculation as whether Prince William would continue as a pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey.  But the Government’s move to give Texas based helicopter services company Bristow a ten year £1.6 billion project throws up  wider issues.

New helicopters and new investments are  obvious bonuses, but  does running  Search and Rescue for profit seem like a good idea?  And,  would Bristow be as committed as the RAF to training new pilots in the future?

Of course, Wills will keep tight lipped about what he’s going to do, and his thoughts on the Bristow takeover of the service. Although, apparently, he lobbied the Prime Minister against privatisation when they were in Switzerland together in 2010 promoting the UK’s dismal bid to host the World Cup.

The Government may be saving a lot of money, but picking up injured walkers off mountains or sea men in distress off the UK coast, is not like ferrying oilmen backwards and forwards from North Sea platform. Money talks, but can you put a price on  pilots dedicated to service, rather than a service dedicated to making a profit?

search and rescue