On 1 January, when many of us were just recovering from overindulgence on Hogmanay, or when people were meeting up with family and friends, or simply enjoying respite from work and doing very little, there were a group of people who were willing to pick up their equipment and go out in to the wilds of the Cairngorms in arctic conditions to rescue strangers.
Those people are the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and they searched the Cairngorm plateau on Sunday night in freezing temperatures and deep snow – and then resumed their search yesterday morning. Their skill, perseverance and courage paid off and the two missing walkers, and their dog, were found alive. They had taken an emergency bivvy-bag with them that probably saved their lives.
The Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team is made up entirely of volunteers who give their time freely to help those in need of aid in the mountains, and the organisation relies heavily on donations in order to maintain its mountain rescue capabilities.
We should all take a moment and reflect on the bravery and selflessness of the volunteers and also give thanks for all those who spend their time raising the funds that are so necessary. It is life-affirming that in this day and age, where so much now is provided by the state, there are individuals willing to sacrifice their time and comfort and be willing volunteers. It is a wonderful example of community help that seems to be diminishing in so many places.
It is probably a little too late for New Year resolutions, but we could all do much worse than resolve to be even a little more like these courageous and considerate people.