Our latest Councillor Column sees Cllr Iain Shonny Paterson, SNP councillor for Lomond North, pay tribute to his colleagues in the Arrochar mountain rescue team...

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This week I am dedicating my column to the women and men of the Arrochar and Police Scotland mountain rescue teams.

On December 30, they received a missing person call-out in relation to a man who was last known to have abandoned his car at Ardgartan car park in Glen Croe near Arrochar. Unfortunately, despite an extensive seven-day search in extreme terrain, the teams were not successful in locating the man in question. Police are continuing with their enquiries and hopefully he will be found soon.

The Arrochar mountain rescue team is made up of women and men from all walks of life: joiners, builders, gamekeepers, accountants, doctors, outdoors instructors, business people, teachers and council workers. All volunteers, they give their time freely of their time to help others who have become lost or injured on the hills.

READ MORE: Search launched for missing man near Arrochar

They do so at all hours of the day and night, very often in extreme weather conditions, and without complaint (although there is perhaps the odd grumble about the lack of biscuits at team training!), and I consider myself privileged to be a part of this team.

I must also praise another group of volunteers involved in the missing person search at Ardgartan. The Rapid Relief Team, part of a national organisation which has a base in Glasgow, provides a community service that delivers on-site catering to support emergency services at incident locations.

Their help was vital in delivering much-needed sustenance to the teams during the Ardgartan search – so much so that I am asking Argyll and Bute Council officers to meet them to look at how we can build the service they provide into community action plans for the communities of the area. I will also be inviting them to give a talk at our next area committee business day.

READ MORE: Mountain safety warning after Arrochar team rescues walkers

Both of these volunteer teams provide an invaluable service for communities in times of trouble. Going out as they did on December 30, during the holiday period, at a time which could have been spent with family and friends, surely demonstrates not only their professionalism and dedication to the service they provide but also their empathy and compassion as human beings.