Due to there being no training in December for many reasons including Covid-19 we thought we would do a brief review of the past 12 months.
Our aim was to conduct one monthly training weekend every month throughout the year and we were well on track until Covid-19 restrictions at the end of March put this target on hold. Despite the long lockdown during the summer months we were able to continue with training when restrictions were eased back in August. Since then we have been able to conduct monthly sessions both in North Wales and in Ireland. We have met a number of new handlers this year and they are progressing well on their chosen pathways. A number of our existing handlers successfully passed their annual re-assessments and trainees in Ireland ave successfully gained their level 3 qualifications.
We are now taking a short Christmas break but we are still preparing for what hope s to be a busy 2021. Our overseas work will hopefully resume in March with David Jones returning to Spain to continue with his instruction and training for the emergency services.
We are also keen to launch our introductory courses which will be delivered in partnership with Glyndwr University. The first session will take place the week beginning the 25th January.
We are also looking forward to utilising a new training location in the new year. This will be a welcome break from our usual sites and will provide the trainees and their handlers a fresh location to develop, practice and hone their skills. Keep checking our site for further details in the new year.
All of us at UK-K9 would like to wish all our handlers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Nadolig Llawen Pawb.
Between the 13th and 15th November we conducted a localised training session in Penmaenmawr. We concentrated on Cadaver (Land) work and Live Person (Tracking).
Those handlers and dogs who were able to attend continued with their instruction and were able to sample the changeable North Wales weather to test their skills.
Our next sessions are planned for January 2021 when we hopefully will be running a weekend in Scotland as well as delivering short introductory courses at Wrexham Glyndwr University's NOrthop Campus.
Please see a selection of photos from the weekend along with details of the courses in Northop.
Our October training took place between the 16th and 18th October and due to Welsh Government rules restricting us from training in Penmaenmawr we moved our weekend to Anglesey, which was not subject to a local lockdown.
We were joined by our regular trainees and we welcomed our new trainee (Amanda) who had travelled from Scotland to start their training towards their NASDU qualifications.
The majority of the weekend was spent concentrating on Cadaver (Water) detection work and we were able to utilise the river in Rhosneigr for both boat work and bank searching. There was also the opportunity for our Cadaver (Land) trainees to continue with their guided learning hours and skill development.
We are currently in a national lockdown in Wales which is due to finish on the 9th November and all being well we will be ready for our November training weekend which is planned for the 13th - 15th.
Below is a a selection of cracking photos taken by our new trainee Amanda Drummond from Scotland.
Last weekend (Sept 18th - 20th) we welcomed trainees from all corners of the country in sunny if somewhat windy conditions. This weekend concentrated mainly on the Cadaver Land pathway and new trainees Vinny and his dog Scout, Woody and his dog Missy and Matt with his dog Woody continued working towards their Level 3 qualification. Existing, qualified cadaver detection and live person (air scenting) dog handlers also attended to fulfil their regular continuous training requirements.
Friday was a combination of refresher session from the previous training weekend on Anglesey in September and some progression work including expanding the dogs ability to work on long leads and indication work. The team also spent some time making up some essential equipment such as the 20 metre lines needed for grid work.
On Saturday we had set up a scenario based exercise where all trainees were required to take part in a search. This ensured that everyone involved were able to use the training they'd received so far and for the newer trainees to work alongside experienced and qualified handlers.
Sunday included some lessons learned from the scenario exercise, continuation training and setting work for the trainees to do at home ready for October's session.
Here are some photos from the weekend's training.
The team were back over in Northern Ireland last weekend (11th - 13th September) where handler Ryan and his search dog Max successfully passed their annual assessment for the Level 3 Live Person Air Scenting pathway.
Daniel and his search dog Luna were successful in their assessment for the Level 3 Live Person Air Scenting pathway and we wish them all the best as they go operational with K9 Search & Rescue Northern Ireland.
We also welcomed 2 new handlers and their dogs for the L3 Air Scenting pathway and 2 new handlers for the L3 Cadaver (Water) Detection Dog Pathway.
We also welcomed members from Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team who continued with mantrailing work training.
The training took place in the Antrim Boat Club and we would like to thank them for their welcome and allowing us to make use of their excellent facilities.
We now move on to training in North Wales on the weekend of the18th - 20th September in Penmaenmawr.
Here are some photos from our Northern Ireland Weekend.
We all made our way over to Rhosneigr on Anglesey for our second weekend training session during August. During the planning of this weekend we were expecting a busy session and it proved to be the case. Friday morning started with us welcoming 3 new students (Matt with his dog Woody, Zoe and her dog Enger and Woody with his dog Missy) who were embarking on their Cadaver Land pathway as well as meeting up with existing attendees travelling from as far south as Kent and as far north as Scotland. We all met up at a very windy Llanfaelog for a morning of introductions, presentations and paperwork.
Following a quick lunch we split up into 2 groups. One group consisted of the handlers who were taking part in their annual re-assessment for the Victim (Water Search) Detection Dog pathway. By Sunday afternoon, at the end of three days, of preparation and assessments we are delighted to congratulate Bryan Glass and Fern, Lizzie Watt and Bailey and Tony Warren and Jessie on successfully completing their re-grading for another year.
We welcomed Iain Marshall from K9 Search & Recovery Scotland who joined us on Saturday and Sunday along with our Lost & Missing Persons pathway instructor, Ian Plater. Our trainee, Adrian Rogulski, who is based in Scotland and currently training for the Victim (Cadaver Land) Detection Dog pathway, joined Iain's team. This is a great opportunity for both handlers to work together on training and hopefully in the very near future for Adrian to work with Iain on operational searches.
We were also given details of an article in the Sunday World Newspaper about Philip McRory and Grace from Dublin Wicklow Mountain rescue Team who at the beginning of August passed their Mantrailing assessment.
The photos below are a selection of some of the training from the weekend.
After a 5 month hiatus in training due to the Covid-19 Lockdown we resumed our training in North Wales last weekend. We were very fortunate to have booked the good weather for the weekend which consisted of continuous training for our Cadaver (land and water) and our Air Scenting teams.
This weekend also was important for Philip McRory and Grace who were due for their Level 3 Live Person Tracking assessment. The assessment consisted of 3 separate searches conducted over three separate days. One search was for an hours duration where another search was over a distance of one mile. Both Philip and Grace performed their tasks to a very high standard and we are delighted to announce that both Philip and Grace passed their assessment and will soon be in receipt of the NASDU Certificate. We would like to congratulate Philip and Grace on their hard work and dedication to training over the past 12 months and we know that they will be a very valuable asset to the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team. We also were involved in a pre-assessment of Daniel and his dog Luna from K9 Search & Rescue Northern Ireland for the Level 3 Live Person Air Scenting pathway. Good progress was made over the weekend and we are planning on holding the assessment for Daniel and Luna in the next month - watch this space for updates.
Training took place over two locations during the weekend. On Friday we concentrated our efforts in the fields (ffriddoedd in Welsh) above Penmaenmawr. Our Drone pilot, who is due to start studying for his PHD at Glyndwr University in Wrexham (and is going to attached to the team for the next 18 months), started work on using his drone technology for identification of buried remains. We will be reporting more on this in the coming months as the work progresses.
On Saturday and Sunday the training relocated to Rhosneigr and Aberffraw on Anglesey where we concentrated on the Cadaver (Water) pathway as well as continuing work with the drone in Aberffraw (No drone flying is possible at Rhosneigr due to the close proximity to RAF Valley).
See below for a selection of photos of the training in action and photos of the newly qualified Live Person Tracking team Philip and Grace from Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team.
From K9 Search & Rescue NI:
Last weekend seen our team travel to the Carlingford area, for our monthly training with our friends and colleagues from the Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team.
This weekend was a little different whereby it wasn’t just all about the dogs. The Mountain Rescue Team had organised an exercise with the Police Service of Northern Ireland Search & Rescue Team and ourselves. To start the exercise, K9 Max was deployed to locate a missing person along with his Handler and K9 Support Operator. K9 Max very quickly made a find and the missing person was assessed by our Support Operator as assistance was requested from the MRT, PSNI SAR Team and addition K9 Support Operators. Once the casualty was treated by medics, they were stretchered off the side of the mountain.
All of the dogs in training are coming on extremely well. They all absolutely love searching and finding people, everyone of them are going to be life savers.
In light of the covid-19 pandemic, only essential personnel travelled to this training weekend, which was seen as vital, in order to keep both the K9s and personnel highly trained to continue the lifesaving work we do.
Photos courtesy of K9 Search & Rescue NI and UK-K9 Training for Excellence.
Phillip McCrory also successfully completed his pre-assessment for Live Person (Tracking/trailing) and is due to take his final assessment in Wales in April.
Welcome to Steven Bridges from K9 Search & Rescue NI who has recently registered with us for the Level 3 Cadaver Detection Course.
We have recently joined forces with Search Dogs for Lost Dogs based in Scotland. We will be involved in supporting the training of their membership for tracking and locating lost pets. Keep checking our Website for regular updates.
We conducted our final training weekend of the year in Penmaenmawr, North Wales between the 22nd and 24th November 2019. Members of Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, K9 Search & Rescue NI and K9 Scent & Search Scotland attended where instruction was provided on Cadaver Detection and Live Person Air Scenting work.
All handlers and their dogs worked extremely well in some challenging weather conditions and made excellent progress towards their chosen pathway. Here are a selection of photos taken during the session. These photos are courtesy of Mike Parsons.
Taken from K9 Search & Rescue NI who have qualified and trainee handlers working with us:
Heartbreaking end to search.
We were tasked by CGOC Belfast Coastguard this morning at 1100 to assist Kilkeel and Newcastle Coastguard Rescue teams, Kilkeel RNLI Lifeboat and PSNI Newry & Mourne in the search for a missing person.
We requested our partners from Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue Teams Dog Team to assist in the search. Teaming up with Greenore Coast Guard they searched an extensive area on south side of Carlingford Lough initially.
During the search, K9 Max indicated an area of interest, leading to divers being deployed. A young male was recovered by divers, K9 Search & Rescue and Kilkeel Coastguard Rescue team into care of police.
Our thoughts and prays go out to the young mans family and friends