First - Some History
When the Trustees of the Scottish hillwalking charity, Boots Across Scotland, decided in 2008 to disband Boots their decision left many of their thousands of supporters puzzled and disappointed. Boots had successfully served the hill-going community for most of their twenty year existence. Of their prime aims, there was undoubtedly still a need for education and training in mountain safety (annual accident statistics confirm this), there was still a need for help for injured hill-goers and there was still a need for support for Mountain Rescue efforts.
Several former active Boots committee members were keen to keep the vision alive, and as Boots drew to a close they decided to start a new charity to fill the gap. That charity is Mountain Aid.
Update All recent "Boots" supporters will have received a letter in early June 2010, from the Trustees of Boots, explaining that the charity has closed and that the remaining funds have been distributed.
Mountain Aid is very much in its infancy so we do not have a long list of achievements that we can reel out – at least not as Mountain Aid. However, most of the Mountain Aid committee formed the pro-active core of Boots Across Scotland during the late nineties and beyond, Boots most successful and prolific time. In fact most of the active committee from that time are now actively supporting Mountain Aid.
The late nineties achievements, which the former Boots committee members that are now involved with Mountain Aid helped to organise, makes impressive reading:-
- The Millennium Munros Event when 282 Munros were ascended on 28th May 2000, not quite a "compleat" round but that’s our target for next time.
- Two hugely successful Mountain Safety Days in the Albert Halls in Stirling. The first of these, in September 1999 was opened by the well-kent figure of Cameron McNeish, and gave the public the chance to meet many outdoor organisations in the voluntary and commercial sector including Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, Scottish Mountaineering Trust, BBC Weather Forecasting, C-n-Do, John Muir Trust, Scottish Youth Hostels, Harvey Maps, Ordnance Survey Maps, William F Gore (Gore-tex), Tiso and Cotswold Outdoor. Displays were given by local Mountain Rescue Teams and it proved a most successful day for Boots supporters, worth all the time and effort needed for its preparation. The 2001 Mountain Safety Day, opened by the legendary Hamish Maclnnes, followed a similar format, but gave greater opportunity for Film Shows, Talks and Lectures at the expense of commercial interests. A superb contribution by the Meteorological Office on the extremes of weather in Scottish hills, was a centre piece of this second event.
- A hardy annual presence at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival offered ample opportunity to promote the organisation and as always the theme of mountain safety.
- An annual series of Winter Skills lectures by Mick Tighe covering an area from Aberdeen to Harrogate and taking in venues in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales as well as regular Navigation, Mountain First Aid and Winter Skills weekends all run by qualified personnel.
- The organisation's growing reputation led to an invitation to take a stand at the 2000 Scottish Camping and Outdoor Show to promote the mountain safety message. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, who have similar aims, joined in this venture.
- During this time the organisation also donated five thousand pounds annually to Mountain Rescue Teams and part funded the annual Shell Mountain Rescue Seminar at Glenmore Lodge. Further monies were made available to help fund the Climber magazine Winter Skills supplement and the excellent Glen Arna navigation training workbook.
Mountain Aid hopes that all of the above events, and more, will be resumed as soon as possible.
Mountain Aid has very similar aims to those of Boots Across Scotland. Indeed, the Mountain Aid committee is made up mostly of former Boots committee members, who played major parts in many of Boots' most successful initiatives over the years.
However, there are a few important differences:-
- Mountain Aid, although based in Scotland, will look to extend their efforts across the whole of the UK.
- Mountain Aid will operate as a round table organisation with all members and supporters having an equal say in the running of the organisation.
- Mountain Aid Annual General Meetings will be open to all members and supporters and all will have an equal vote.
- Of the funds raised by Mountain Aid, any that are spent will be used 100% towards mountain safety issues.
These differences are intended to encourage all members and supporters to play an active role in the organisation.
Our agreed and approved Constitution document is available for download.
Mountain Aid is run by a working committee. Some committee members drift in and out as their personal circumstances dictate (we're all volunteers), however the people who attend on a regular basis include:
- Alex Slimon (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Jim Kinnell (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Jim Willsher (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Jane Kale (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Davy McLellan (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Andrew Gibson (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Marguerite Robertson (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Harry Lambie (previously with Boots Across Scotland)
- Annie Bell
- Michael Donaldson
If you feel you would like to be involved then please e-mail moreinfo <at> mountainaid.org.uk (replace <at> with the @ symbol - sorry, it's an antispam measure)