I was intending this weekend to catch up with cleaning and some shopping at Custom Orthotics . Not the most exciting of weekends, but I’ve had lots of exciting weekends and I really needed a boring one to catch up on housework. Meh.

So I wasn’t really too unhappy when, at around 1:15pm this afternoon the pager’s shrill tone echoed through the house. “Hurrah” I thought. Now there’s an excuse to get out of hoovering…

I started up to base immediately the 111 message came through and as I reached Merthyr the next message came out – an area call to a lady with a broken leg. RV: Pont ar Daf. So I headed up to base. Chris was already opening the garage door as I arrived and we were soon shutting up the garage again as I piled my kit into the back of Alpha. Lights on. Cockpit check. Seatbelt on. First gear. Drive. Siren on as we reach the junction, and turn right up to the roundabout. Chris tries to reach Lima on the radio and gives up as the sirens go back on for the roundabout. Third. Fourth. Down the heads of the valleys road. Fifth. Sixth. 80 mph on a clear road, lit up like a Christmas tree and Chris is on the radio again. There’s a car ahead but there’s double solid white lines so I can’t pass. I hang back. Down to fourth, ease off, keep the siren off. He sees me and hits the brakes, comes to a stop on a left hand bend. I can’t do anything except pass, so the siren and two-tone airhorn goes on. Check the road, it’s clear, it’s safe, so around we go and off down the road. It’s fairly quiet until we hit the A470 roundabout. Sirens and airhorn, everything stops for us. The vehicles doesn’t deal well with corners at speed, so slow right down for this one. Accelerate away from the roundabout in second. Third. Fourth. Nice clear road. There’s only a few cars ahead of us as we head up the A470.

As we get to the top reservoirs there’s a line of cars ahead. I hang back – no point catching up until we can pass and I accelerate through the dip. Chris hits the siren and I adopt a commanding position on the road – the middle. Cars pull over in both directions as we head up. It’s all going spiffingly. Until, that is, a BMW convertible pulls out to overtake someone else right in front of me. To that driver: you’re an idiot. Fortunately a blast of the air horn made him realise how stupid an idea it was and we passed him. Waving to the speed camera, I keep my position straddling the white lines, taking command of the road. As we approach the turn into the layby, there’s nothing coming and the sirens are finally silenced as we turn in.

Control was set up quickly and pretty soon I was writing the radio logs – three radios, four hill teams, two helicopters and a casualty of unknown location. That certainly made for plenty of radio traffic and before I knew it, we’d found the casualty. The weather caused its own problem though as the casualty was in the cloud itself meaning that neither XR99 – the Dyfed Powys police helicopter nor Helimed – the Air Ambulance could get to the casualty. So this was an old-fashioned callout – mountain rescue personnel searching for a casualty in poor weather.

It didn’t take long. The casualty was on the path between Corn Du and the Obelisk. Our people converged on that location and we rapidly administered first aid and pain-relieving drugs. Before long I was hearing that we were ready for a pickup and Helimed powered up and headed off to pick up our casualty.

I have to say at this point a big thank you to Alistair who runs the “Three Peaks” burger van in Pont ar Daf. He is a star and is always supportive of us, supplying refreshments for us and helping us out. It wasn’t long before he was serving tea to the hill parties as they returned. We packed up and headed back to base and that was it. Another succesful rescue.

Here’s hoping for a quiet night tonight, since tomorrow we’re off to Cardiff to support the guys who are running a half-marathon to raise money for the team. Huzzah.

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