Sunday, February 20, 2011

20/2/11 - Grade II at Edale.

Writing the date has made me realise just how quick this term is going! 6 more weeks and we're on eater holidays (then only 2 weeks after that 'til exams and then summer!).

There is only one thing of any interest that I have done since Friday. Grade II training with ramsoc. So that's what I'm going to talk about to day; its so exciting that I think it deserves a post to itself.

Pick up at 9 o'c'lock, I was easily ready on time (always am..) but was still feeling far from awake! I arrived at the bus stop, greeted by 2 more trainees, only about 10 minutes until the bus arrived. At this point, and throughout the journey I was feeling a bit apprehensive, as I had no idea what to expect from the day, other than that it was going to be a very long day, and that the weather forecast was pretty horrendous. This was not helped by the fact I get travel sick on minibuses in particular, and had chosen to sit at the back.

The closer we got, the more snowy it was getting (glad I wasn't in charge of driving!), when we arrived at Edale there was a decent covering of snow, although it had just about stopped falling, not very windy either (despite the forecast predicting gale force gusts!), so we were quite lucky.

Our first instruction, once we'd all kitted up, was "Open the map and find yourselves", this was more difficult than you would have expected because we were expected to pinpoint ourselves to the millimetre on the map - once we'd done that we walked a little bit around the corner and were asked to do it again. Just getting us used to navigation using our surroundings. Most of us made the same mistake, put we managed to correct it pretty quickly it was then a 100m pacing, to see how many steps we walking in 100m (very useful later), before taking it in turns to get to a specified location (where everyone not navigating would have to work out where they were). The navigations got progressively harder, with the first few people just having to get to a particular point along the footpath. My first map reading fail came when looking for myself, I wasn't concentrating and picked a point relative to a car park about 15km away! (oops!)

I was the first person to navigate away from the path, this went well...although I confused a few people with my route choice, as I went round in a bit of a circle rather than taking a direct route, as I wanted to take my group on a safe route, what with all the snow. Once my nav was over it was just a matter of following, and trying to remember where we walked to make for easy finding on the map. We had a rather steep (and too long for most of us) ascent just before lunch. A bit more navigation practise with the group and then we were split into pairs and given a rock on the map to go and find. Surprisingly, we all took different routes, but despite much wandering about between a wall and a path, trying to count paces, and work out a bearing we all got reasonably close to the rock, which although on the map, we couldn't see thanks to the snow! We were then given a different partner and had to repeat the exercise, only this time we all had different points, and they were a bit more tricky to find (especially with the thickening fog!).

After that we had a couple of hours of fun. We played the bag game, where we swapped rucksacks, walked no more than 150m on a particular bearing and left the rucksacks (surprisingly difficult to walk back the 150m to the group because for was really limiting visibility by this point!) , and then gave instructions as to where the bag was to its owner. Only one bag was "lost" and this was the one I placed on the second round, I was perhaps a bit harsh as I put it in a difficult to see spot. I knew where it was though so it wasn't lost, and it gave us something to practise sweep searching with (rather than one of the leaders hiding and getting cold!). We also tested out the bothys just so we all knew what they were like, should we ever need one.

After this it was decided that, rather than the usual grade II kill a few hours and then descend in the dark, that we should walk down while it was light, because the fog and snow was making it pretty difficult anyway. I slid over at least 4 times on the way down, and I'm pretty sure most people did! The plan then was to just walk a couple of hundred metres up and back down again, before we got the minibus, after we'd all eaten.

So, to the Nag's Head pub. In my opinion the best pub in the Peak District. We had a great couple of hours in there, before it was decided that some people were too drunk for night nav (not me, I'd only had coke!), so back to the minibus. Fog made for an interesting drive back, but we made it home for 10 (a bit earlier than planned due to no night nav)...I slept well last night...pretty sure everyone else did too!

Tempted by the walk at Langsett today, but my legs probably won't forgive me! Definitely going to go on the walk next week though, I could potentially have it as my 1st assessed walk (have to do 2 before being grade 2 qualified), but instead I think I will just help with the navigation. Want to make sure I'm 100% confident with that before I have to start thinking about all the group management stuff as well!

Right, cinema today instead - but what to see - Tangled, Gnomeo and Juliet, Paul or Yogi Bear?

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