On a run recently I was thinking about how many of the people in my running club are currently, or have been a member of Mountain Rescue.
Currently there are 5, and as to how many have been - I honestly have no idea, but there are a good deal more.
Not only that, but a number of those that are not a part of MR are active in terms of conservation, fundraising and other bits and bobs for things to do with the hills.
When I lived on the Isle of Wight I was generally too young to be a part of the RNLI. To be totally honest, it never really appealed to me. Stick me in the middle of a cold, windy moor or mountainscape, and I can probably get myself home. Stick me in the middle of a cold, windy seascape, and I'm unlikely to be so happy.
So when I moved to Glossop, and I had the opportunity to volunteer to be a part of Mountain Rescue, I have to say that I jumped at the chance. Whether or not I had the required skills to be a part of it was always a doubt in the back of my mind. However, if people like me, like you, do not put their names forward for testing, well, MRT would have no-where near as many volunteers as they do.
The concern about "am I good enough?" was, and is always there. However, keeping on top of hillcraft, first aid, fitness and strength all help me to be not only a better and more efficient member of a rescue team, but also make me a better runner. One that is more able to make intelligent decisions, and also a runner that is more confident in what I do, and my ability to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It is often not something catastrophic that happens which makes people call out MRT, but rather a catalogue of small errors which, combined, end up making a bad day, turn into a life threatening one.
The point of all this?
If you run on the hills, if you are a regular hill goer, fabulous. However, have you thought of joining, or indeed, supporting a Mountain rescue team? If you look at MRT and think "oh, I could never do what they do", in terms of navigation, or knowing where they are on a hill, or being prepared, maybe you should think a little about exactly what you are doing on a hill.
If you only find your way around with the grace of god, and the batteries in your GPS, think about learning how to map read properly. The amount of people out there on the hills that don't really know what they are doing, especially when the weather turns ugly, and it gets dark, is a little frightening.
You'll enjoy it more if you are more confident in your own skills and ability to know where you are, and how to get off the hill.
Yes, accidents happen, and that is what MRT is there for. Its not there to pick you up when you get lost. If you're on a hill, you shouldn't be in a position where you are lost anyway.
Learn the skills to the point that you *could* be MRT.
And then use them