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Busy year for mountain rescue volunteers

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BY MICHELLE CREAN

With seven mountain fatalities, 44 callouts resulting in 67 people assisted, and a total of 2400 rescue hours – it’s certainly been a busy year for the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team.

And the voluntary organisation, which currently has 35 voluntary members, is appealing to the public to think safety when heading out to the mountains.

During 2018, callouts have ranged from search and rescue to medical assistance and recovery operations in and around the mountain ranges of the southwest, Colm Burke

PRO Kerry Mountain Rescue Team,explained.

“The team has unfortunately had to deal with an unusually high number of tragic incidents this year, with seven fatalities recorded since February,” he said.

During the year, the team, who were honoured to be a joint recipient of the prestigious Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award, have put in 2000 training hours, he added.

“Team training sessions during the year have focussed on the traditional aspects of casualty care and search and rescue in upland areas, along with the introduction of some new technical equipment to improve rope safety systems.”

And he had a safety message for anyone thinking of heading out climbing in the next few weeks.

“With the short winter days, cold weather and dark skies, it's more important than ever to plan ahead to ensure you stay safe out there. As the winter sets in, there are a few key safety considerations for those heading into the mountains.

“Make sure you start your walk or climb early enough in the day; be aware of what time it gets dark and allow for a change in the weather too. Plan your day and route taking into consideration a reliable mountain weather forecast. Leave a route plan with a responsible person. Don't forget to keep an eye on the weather during the day. Always be prepared to turn back or take a shorter route. The mountains will still be there another day. Whatever your plans, you’ll need a good torch and spare batteries in case you get delayed. People sometimes prefer to carry a second lightweight torch so they don’t need to change batteries in the cold or the dark if the head torch packs up.

If you need help, he added, dial 999 or 112, then ask for ‘Mountain Rescue’.
“Give all your prepared details of the incident and stay where you are until contacted by the rescue team.”

He added, at their recent annual Christmas gathering, a special presentation was made to those team members with in excess of 25 years’ service. Among those individually honoured were Maureen Chevens and Maureen O’Reilly, affectionately known as ‘The Two Maureens’.

“The Maureens were an integral part of the team for many years, assisting with the co-ordination of rescue operations and painstakingly recording all rescue events, timelines and communications. And he said that KMRT would like to extend a sincere thanks to all those who have donated funds to the team over the year.

“The team relies heavily on donations to meet our annual running costs and we very much appreciate the effort that donors and fundraisers make in this regard.”

 

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Lissi’s love of nature nets prize

After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition. Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature. Each Biosphere participating awarded […]

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After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition.

Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature.

Each Biosphere participating awarded local prizes with the top entry from each being submitted to the international competition between the three.

This week the two judges for the international element Author Dara McAnulty and Professor Martin Price, Chair of the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee, have unanimously chosen ‘The Otter’ by Lissi Nickelsen (Kerry) as winner of the inter-Biosphere Young Nature Blogger 2021.

“I absolutely love the observational detail in this piece,” Dara McAnulty, author of ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ and the youngest ever winner of The Wainright Prize for nature writing said:

“You can really feel that breathless excitement and tension of seeing an otter. The drawing shows how multimedia can be used to great effect in a blog.”

Professor Martin Price added that it “is a beautifully written blog about a very special encounter”.

“I really get the feeling of what Lissi observed so carefully, and her joy about spending time with an otter! And the drawing is wonderful too!”

Lissi will receive a young naturalist writing set from Dara McNulty, a framed otter picture from Wildlife photographer Vincent Hyland, Wild Derrynane, and a family kayak trip in the Kerry Biosphere.

The winning entry can be read on the Kerry Biosphere website www.kerrybiosphere.ie/news.

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The only certainty is uncertainty

By Michael O’Connor    “History is just one damn thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee Late last week, the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa sent shockwaves worldwide, upending what had been a reasonably quiet week for the stock market. On Friday last, a steep sell-off left the S&P 500 and the […]

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By Michael O’Connor   

“History is just one damn thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee

Late last week, the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa sent shockwaves worldwide, upending what had been a reasonably quiet week for the stock market. On Friday last, a steep sell-off left the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down 2.2% and 3.5%, respectively.

This 147th twist in the pandemic tale got me thinking about how much we think we know when really, we know nothing at all.

At the start of the year nobody would have predicted that 2020 would have played out the way it did. Very few would have predicted that 2021, with promising vaccines and a return to normality would have represented so little change, but here we are.

Everyone loves to pretend like they fully understand what this all means and what will happen next. I get it; who doesn’t love the warm cozy allure of certainty. We all want to exist in a world where we know what lies around the corner.

History is a perpetual stream of mistaken opinions and unpredictable outcomes, but the predictions won’t stop. People will cast their views with deluded certainty about what to expect next by extrapolating the current conditions out into the future, but the current conditions aren’t a constant, and the game is always changing.

Unfortunately, the reality is, nobody knows what’s next, and the sooner you can discard any naive sense of conviction, the easier it will be in both life and investing. While this statement may seem morbid on the surface, loosening our grip on our need for certainty can be liberating.

Remember, while it is important to have expectations and predictions, predictions are not fact, and you will be wrong. Not always, but you will be wrong, so try not to be overly tethered to your current version of the truth.

Lean into the uncertainty

Accepting that nothing is certain can often be cast as an impotent statement in a world obsessed with knowing all the answers.

In an industry where uncertainty is the ultimate enemy, telling investors to submit to it is often met with disdain, but accepting the inevitability of uncertainty is so important if you want to avoid going stir crazy as you try and hold for the long term.

Of course, discarding uncertainty is easier said than done. Worrying about factors beyond our control is an inherent part of the human condition. However, simply being aware that the game is not predictable and nobody truly knows the final outcome may help you reduce your craving for certainty.

My advice

Stop reaching for perfection in a world of constant uncertainty. Stop obsessing about making the right decision one hundred percent of the time. Even the best investors in history have had their fair share of howlers. Ultimately you just need to be right more often than you are wrong.

The solution

Create an investment portfolio centred around what you believe to be the most probable outcome based on available information and incorporate enough diversification to function as a buffer.

In a world where anything is possible, all you can do is focus on what is most probable, allow for a margin of error to support you when your assumed outcomes don’t play out and simply let go of the rest.

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