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Royal Marines rescue hill-walker in Scotland

Royal Marines rescuing Susan Whitton in Glen Clova
20 September 2018
They're the UK Armed Forces’ specialists in mountain and cold weather warfare, but a group of Royal Marines from 45 Commando recently put those skills to the test when they were called to assist a hill-walker in distress in the Angus Glens.

Arbroath resident Susan Whitton (56) was walking in Glen Clova with husband Jimmy when she slipped and took a nasty tumble. Although she didn't know it at the time, she had fractured her ankle; Susan found she could not go on and was stranded in the remote Glen.

Enter the 25 Royal Marines from 45 Commando's Yankee Company. The Angus Green Berets were on a 'leg stretch', a yomp through the 18-mile Glen to conduct some low-level navigational training, ahead of Exercise Mountain Dagger the following week.

"We had just set out from the Clova Hotel and were around 20 minutes into our route when we met Susan and her husband on the track,” explained Sergeant Adam Barton, Mountain Leader First Class with 45 Commando.

"As Royal Marines we are all given medical training so I could see that her ankle wasn’t looking great. I picked four of the Marines and together we made an improvised stretcher – basically carrying Susan back down the hill to her accommodation at the Clova Hotel."

He continued: "It proved to be some useful training for us. When the couple said they were from Arbroath we knew we had to help."

I would just like to say a huge thank you to our 45 Commando Royal Marines who came to my rescue.

Susan Whitton

Susan, recovering from the incident, took to social media to express her thanks to the Marines.

"I would just like to say a huge thank you to our 45 Commando Royal Marines who came to my rescue.

"They carried me down the mountain and back to our cabin while reassuring and keeping me calm. They were brilliant. How lucky was I that they just happened to be out on exercise at that time,” she said, adding: “extra exercise after having to carry me!"

Royal Marine Mountain Leaders undergo many months of intense training, experiencing challenging climbs in the Swiss Alps, the sea cliffs of Cornwall, the mountains of North Wales and Scotland, as well as the Arctic in Norway.

45 Commando is a battalion sized Commando unit and is one of the two manoeuvre units that form 3 Commando Brigade (40 & 45 Commando).

The Royal Marines are primarily amphibious troops, specialising in environmental warfare; particularly jungle, desert, urban, cold weather and mountain. They are also a spearhead theatre entry force with a large element held at high readiness for contingency operations.

RM Condor in Arbroath was constructed in 1938 as a Fleet Air Arm Base. 45 Commando have been based there since 1971, due to the ease of access to winter and mountainous conditions. The base is shared with 7 (Sphinx) Battery, part of 29 Commando Royal Artillery.

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