Keepers game for 165ft abseil

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A group of Angus gamekeepers abandoned their fears and took the plunge recently to raise funds for a lifeline service which helped save one of their colleagues.

The 11-strong group, from the Angus Glens Moorland Group, raised almost £3000 for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance by abseiling 165 feet from the Forth Bridge.

They were prompted to do so following several cases in remote parts of the glens which required emergency rescue, including that of part-time labourer Gary Croll who was helping build grouse butts 1700ft up a steep hillside at Millden Estate at Easter when he collapsed and had a seizure.

Colleagues managed to get the land ambulance to the hill, but it was decided a helicopter would be required. Gary was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where it was discovered he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Jason Clamp, Millden head gamekeeper, said: “Gary complained he was feeling unwell. The next thing, he just dropped to the ground. When the land ambulance couldn’t get him off the hill, the helicopter was there in 10 minutes and took him straight to Ninewells.

“Thankfully he is back working now but specialists say many don’t survive the type of brain haemorrhage he had. When the idea of helping Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance was discussed, we wanted to do it. People don’t realise we are 45 minutes from the nearest hospital so this service is really important to us all.”

Lianne MacLennan, group co-ordinator, joined the keepers after prompting the drive to help the Perth-based service.

She said: “A few of the keepers in the group said immediately that abseiling was not for them because they didn’t like heights too much, but the ones who did it really enjoyed it,”