Once a year, the sleepy village of Dores on the shores of Loch Ness comes alive with the sound of music. And by that I don’t mean the musical.
Rockness is the Highland’s number one music festival, and for the fourth year running I found myself back in that grassy field taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the Highland fling. The drunken crowds staggering across the hillside, dressed in all sorts of outfits ranging from the punk rockers with flowers in their hair to the individuals who feel clothes are hardly necessary at all. The smell of beer, mud, and the unthinkable all mixed together amidst the grass. The banging tunes which pounded the countryside and pulsated through the ground, like a heavy bass heartbeat. I’m pretty sure that Nessie has her own rave party every June; those vibes probably spread far enough to ripple the Loch’s darkest depths.
For me, Rockness not only brings out my inner raver; it is also a tad nostalgic. It brings back the fond memories of my first ever duty, which was indeed Rockness. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end without the ability to swim. Of course, back in the day it was filling out patient report forms before rushing off to watch the final acts. This year, as it has been for the past couple of years, it’s been hard work and first aid all night long…
…Ok, who am I kidding, I’ve always been lucky enough to catch some of the last acts too. But no more hiding behind those forms.
This year I even had a shot at being team leader during Friday’s day shift. Which, to be fair, wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be.
So what sort of casualties did we face? Out cold and drunk? Collapses in the middle of the crowd? Fight victims with blood pouring from wounds, or breaks, sprains, or even spinals?
Um, no. Amazingly, the array of casualties myself and my fellow team mates treated this year were nowhere near as exciting as the above scenarios; examples of what we came across in previous years.
In fact, this year we had more blisters and cut fingers than anything else. Clearly rubbing welly-boots and caterers slicing their fingers open on sharp knives was the in-thing, as opposed to the dreaded unconscious call-out or worse.
Some teams were called out to unresponsive casualties; the grab team was kept busy on a number of occasions. But otherwise our work was minimal. Which is great – it makes a nice change, particularly at a larger duty. Although it can make the time spent at a first aid post pass that little bit slower.
Anyway, it seems that our festival punters kept themselves that bit safer this year (despite the new temptations of two very high fairground rides). This was a major plus as this meant no deaths.
First aiders un point; the Grim nul point =]
So, while Rockness this year was, for us, a tad quieter than usual, the festival was a success for those who came for the booze and live bands. Even if the weather wasn’t quite up to standard – the usual scorching sunshine skipped Friday and Sunday morning. In fact, Sunday saw Rockness turn into Mudness as the churned-up ground became thick with fresh Highland rain and beer. Not that this killed anybody’s fun, particularly in the campsites where the ground was particularly slushy.
All I can say is thank goodness for waterproofs.
Another stint at Rockness over and done with. Four years worth of festival experience tucked snugly under the boiler-suit belt (with another ear-full of loud and proud tunes). I wonder if I can go for a fifth year of festival first aiding?