SARDA chooses Páramo gear for its safety and comfort on UK hills & mountains

UK Search and Rescue Dog Associations (SARDA) are teams of volunteers across the country dedicated to saving lives. They provide canine assistance to those lost and missing in the outdoors and support other rescue teams, such as the Police and Mountain Rescue, in the search for missing walkers, mountain bike riders, children and vulnerable adults and, sometimes, major incidents. SARDA volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are a charity supported entirely by public donations.

“It is dusk on a cold weekend evening. Snow lies on the wet ground and more is falling. A SARDA search dog and handler, accompanied by a navigator from the local Mountain Rescue team, are out searching for a father and son lost on the hills. Mobile phone signal is patchy and the ground is difficult, cut up and with hidden pools of cold water. Nevertheless, the search dog and her handler press on – they have an urgent rescue to complete before night falls.

 Under these conditions you need to be able to trust your kit. You know it’s going to be tough staying warm and dry, and cannot be worrying about whether your clothing is up to the task. This is where Páramo comes into its own: it is the kit of choice for our SARDA handlers as it is tough, hard-wearing and you know it’s going to give you the protection you need.” 
Kate Gilliver, SARDA South Wales

Páramo waterproofs are made from unique Nikwax® Analogy® fabric, which mimics the action of animal fur to protect SARDA members from rain, condensation and perspiration whilst protecting their insulation. Rigorously tested in the Leeds University Rain Room to resist at least 4 hours of heavy rain, a Páramo Analogy jacket keeps rescue volunteers safer, drier and warmer.

Andy Colau is a veteran SARDA Search and Rescue handler with over 37 years’ experience under his belt. As a member of the Cave Rescue Organisation since 1976 and never without a trusty sidekick, Belle, by his side (Andy has partnered with over five Search Dogs) the duo respond to Cave and Mountain rescues within a 900 square mile area of the Yorkshire Dales.

How long has Belle been a SARDA volunteer and how long did it take you to train her to locate lost or injured people?
Belle has been working as a fully trained Search and Rescue Dog for SARDA for a year and a half, and it took her three years to complete her extensive training.

Does Belle enjoy working for SARDA and, if so, how can you tell?
Belle loves being a Search and Rescue dog and gets very excited when I put on her working coat; she knows we’re off on an adventure and can’t wait to get going!

How often do you get out each month with Belle?
With SARDA we get out between six and eight times a month. Most of these, however, are training sessions to keep Belle on her toes.

What wouldn’t you leave home without when on a call-out?
My best mate Belle, my rucksack, walking boots and my Páramo jacket that Belle quite fancies for herself- maybe one day they’ll make a doggy version to keep her dry too!

What three things should outdoor enthusiasts take with them on a mountain walk to stay safe?
Group shelter is essential, should the weather take a turn for the worst, and I’d definitely recommend a Kisu emergency storm shelter. Also a map and a compass (it helps if you know how to use them!) plus a first aid kit, food and a torch.

Would you recommend volunteering for SARDA and, if so, how can others get involved?
SARDA is without doubt the best and most important organisation that I have ever worked for. SARDA Search Dog Handlers, although unpaid, act professionally, are trained to the highest standards and are all very experienced Mountain Rescue personnel ready to assist anyone in danger.

paramo-clothing.com

nsarda.org.uk

sardasouthwales.org

mountain.rescue.org.uk

British Antarctic Survey and Páramo: perfect partners

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has a long and distinguished history of carrying out research and surveys in the Antarctic and its surrounding regions, undertaking the majority of British research on the frozen continent, which it shares with scientists from over thirty countries.

Páramo’s partnership with BAS stretches back to 2008, when we began supplying their scientists with our Aspira Smocks, Aspira Salopettes and Pajaro Jackets. More recently we have supplied BAS with our Grid Baselayers and Torres Activo Jackets, selected by BAS for their unique Parameta® G and Nikwax® Analogy® Insulator fabrics.

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A weekend in the life of a Mountain Rescuer

Chris Lloyd, with Tryfan in the distance. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountain Rescuer Chris Lloyd has been volunteering at the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Base in the Welsh county of Gwynedd since 1975, when he joined as a trainee. From Scout presentations to call outs to helicopter rides, here Chris gives us a snapshot of his work as volunteer mountain rescuer over the course of one busy weekend.

“Arrived at Ogwen Valley Base at about 08.00, followed by another two stalwart team members, to prepare a talk and tour for 30 young Scouts and their leaders from Wrexham.

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From Big Cats to Silver Voles in Mongolia

I’ve been wearing Páramo gear for several years now and it has seen me through lots of different situations. Working as a wildlife camera operator, you’re exposed to all the elements, so the flexibility and choice in the Páramo range has been really helpful. I’m often working at either end of the day, starting out before sunrise and finishing after sunset. Even in warmer countries these times of day can be pretty brutal, so I’m a big fan of layering! The Páramo gear easily allows this.

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Ski to the Edge sets off: a 600 Mile Yukon Wilderness Expedition

Yukon Government Archives photo shows Alex Van Bibber, Curly Desrosiers and Harry Cooper in the Firth River area in 1948. (Alex Van Bibber collection, 92/28 #15, Yukon Archives)

The late Alex Van Bibber was a child of the Gold Rush era in the Yukon Territories, born in 1916. In 1943, he led the Canoil expedition to find a new oil pipeline route as a result of concerns over the Japanese landing on the nearby Aleutian Islands. We were hugely privileged to hear Alex’s stories first hand as he gave us his last interview in 2014, at the age of 98. He shared tales of rafting to school from their home in Fort Selkirk to Dawson City with him, as the oldest child aged 13, in charge. He later starred in films about the Yukon, ‘Challenge to be free’ and ‘The Last Trapper’, he took the Chicago mob hunting and even took the Kennedy family up Mount Kennedy. His life was full of rich adventures as a guide, instructor and rescuer – the modern day title of ‘legend’ was well deserved.

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Snowshoes, hot tents and contentment in Sweden

Like quite a lot of people, I suspect, I once considered the onset of winter, with the mountains locked in snow, as the end of play. Not being a particularly good skier, deep snow meant a full stop to three seasons of boreal travel. My discovery of snowshoes has radically changed things. Continue reading

Crossing Australia – no weak link

When I pack for an overseas film shoot my first thought is ‘what can I pack that I don’t mind destroying?’. Usually I can expect the shoots to be in pretty extreme environments (think mountains/ deserts/ jungle). As a result I have an enormous drawer full of crapped-out clothing which include: a pair of combat trousers with more stitch marks than a rag doll, another pair which are gaffa-taped together and pretty much all of my shirts have holes in places there shouldn’t be holes. This is what I have worn on adventures for almost a decade – disposable clothing – because nothing tends to survive long in the field when you’re crawling through the dirt and dust, running up mountainsides, jumping in rivers and then sleeping in these same clothes. Continue reading