I've been training teams for their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, caving on the Mendips and have just come back from an expedition first aid course in preparation for travelling to Tanzania this summer.
Hills and Mountains
The various Duke of Edinburgh groups I worked with this month couldn't have been more different from each other. From a mixed day teaching map skills to bronze students on the Mendips to day one of a gold award practice expedition in the Black Mountains I felt as though I'd seen pretty much the entire spectrum of ability, enthusiasm and attitude.
The gold group were particularly enthusiastic, and although they were a little overawed by a first trip for most of them into a UK mountainous area, they took to the challenge with an energetic, positive attitude. It was a pleasure to deal with a group who understood the value of the skills they were being taught and who listened to the information given to them.
A Cave to Remember
A day caving on the Mendips found me squeezing head first and on my back through several inches of water in GB Cavern, where the reward was some of the most fantastic cave formations I have come across yet. A vast chamber with a pyramid of boulders was filled with stalactites and curtains: I really do need to get a decent camera that I can take underground with me to do justice to trips like this one!
Middle of Nowhere
After several days of high ropes, climbing and stream walking at two local centres, I headed off to Shropshire for the World Challenge Middle of Nowhere Medicine course. The two day course covered a lot of details about treatment and monitoring of illness and injuries over extended periods of time: a perfect refresher for the school expedition I'll be leading in July and August this year.
More to Come
A busy summer now beckons with more climbing and caving in store, as well as a couple of Duke of Edinburgh assessed expeditions. It should be fun to see the groups develop their friendships and coping skills as they progress through the expeditions, but that's it for now!