The South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association have recorded a sharp increase in the number of call outs for 2017 with the voluntary rescue service responding to 29 incidents last year.
The Clonmel based rescue service, which covers the Galtee Mountains, the Knockmealdowns, the Comeraghs and the Blackstairs Mountains have seen a record number of call outs last year following an increase in the popularity of mountaineering and hillwalking pursuits.
Of the 29 incidents attended by SEMRA members last year, 14 incidents occurred in the Galtees, five incidents took place in the Comeraghs with the remaining incidents occurring in other parts of the South East including assisting other search and rescue teams in the Wicklow Mountains.
The organisation, which has been operating for the last 40 years, typically responds to an average of 20 incidents per year according to SEMRA PRO John Foley.
“It’s unpredictable how many calls outs we will attend in a year but as the mountain’s get busier with hillwalkers we get busier,” he said adding that all hillwalkers are encouraged to carry a map and a compass and learn how to use them.
The organisation, which is run entirely on a voluntary basis, requires €45,000 per year to operate which includes training courses for its 46 volunteer members and equipment.
Mr Foley says SEMRA is extremely appreciative to the public who have generously donated towards their fundraising efforts over the years including the increasingly popular ‘Long Way Round’ 14km night walk which takes place every November and has become the main fundraising drive for the organisation.
The Mountain Rescue Association was originally set up by members from local walking clubs, with the aim of creating a rescue team to help those in trouble on the hills of the south east. The service runs on a 24/7 basis and operates 365 days a year.