It’s cold. I’m just recovering from the flu and still feeling a bit naff, but when the pager goes off I don’t hesitate and jump into my Discovery and plough through the snow. I stop at base and we’re told that the road to the RV is closed to all bar 4×4’s. Both team Landrovers are busy ferrying people, so I offer the use of my Discovery. Emptied of my usual load, four other mountain rescuers jump in with kit piled high in the boot and we’re off, up to the RV. The road is treacherous but we make it fine and we all pile out. Most of the team is here, and other teams have been called in to help as well. I realise I haven’t got my jacket with me and throw on a skiing jacket instead, stomping around in the snow and grabbing a chocolate bar – I still feel a bit rough.

Our quarry is in this valley somewhere. We start searching – it’s already dark and the snow is falling hard. The snowcover makes it worse as it covers the grass between the tussocks and the tops of the tussocks themselves evenly, meaning that with every step you’ve no idea if you’re going to be standing on a tussock or sinking knee deep in snow. For a moment, the snow slows and I get a view of a line of headtorches and search lamps stretching from ridge to ridge, sweeping down through the valley, a line of searchers led by dogs and handlers searching for the two of them.

Two and a half hours in and I’m tired, wet and steaming lightly in the cold. My skiing jacket isn’t coping with the hard tromping we’re doing and I’m overheating inside it. There’s a call over the radio, one of the dogs has a strike. Adrenaline pumps around my body and as one the line stops, instructed by control to hold position. It’s confirmed, the man and woman we’ve been looking for, alive, cold but very happy to see us. We sweep forward and crowd around, our lights turning that small patch of mountain to daylight. A find! Alive!

We turn and start walking them off, grinning, glad that we’ve found them alive.

A message over the radio: The man’s wife has reported him missing as well, but not to worry, the police told her that we’d found him safe and well.

He blanches.

Did they tell her who I was with, he asks.

A sudden realisation hits us and we try to hide our smiles at his misfortune. We shrug and walk them off.

It’s only later, back in base tucking into tepid pie and chips the police provided that we hear the reaction of his wife to finding out who he’d been with. I left base with visions of his clothes on the snow-covered lawn when he got home.

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Sorry about the gap recently, I’ve been mad busy sorting Mal’s wedding and other things. This one obviously did not take place recently.

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4 Responses to “Not the woman you thought she was”

  1. Jon says:

    Haven’t you blogged about this one before? 😉

    Nicely written, though… are we perhaps being inspired by Reynolds’ blog?

  2. Aled says:

    I didn’t think so. Meh.

    And no, if anything, more inspired by the writing at 😛

  3. Jon says:

    Well, it was over three years ago:


  4. Aled says:

    Alright, smart arse. 😛