Tom and Meagaidh

Hello! My name is Tom Gilchrist and anything in the outdoors suits me – climbing, ski-ing, paddling, cycling or walking. Living in Fort William it’s all on my doorstep (literally! ) and I love living here. Happily sentiments shared by my wife Julie and my two daughters.

I have been a dog handler with SARDA Scotland for over 25 years and Meagaidh, is my third search dog. I have been involved with Scottish Mountain Rescue longer than that – I was a member of the Ochils Mountain Rescue Team in my teens and was on my first call out with them in 1973! I have been a member of Lochaber MRT for nearly thirty years and I have lost count on how many call-outs I have attended. I think about six or seven hundred.

Being a dog handler in Lochaber puts me in the epicentre of user induced avalanches areas – Glencoe, Ben Nevis, Creag Meagaidh and more recently Aonach Mor. I have attended, with my dog, over thirty avalanches where casualties have been buried and this is the saddest part of MR for me. I was an avalanche forecaster way back in the early days of SAIS and this is an interest I have maintained. Currently I am investigating how human scent transfers though a maritime snowpack.

What would I like to see in the future? More search dogs in the Glencoe/Oban / Lochaber areas so that I can retire! I would also hope SMR continues to flourish, as I think it is an excellent organisation.