DofE in the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park!

ben luiNever have I been so glad of my midge net…note to self; next time carry spare midge nets to make forever grateful friends of those who have forgotten! 

 

Apart from the midges however, it was a fantastic setting for these ambitious Air Cadets to challenge themselves on their Silver and Gold expeditions, which Lupine trained, supervised and assessed for 4 days in the last week of August.

 

The groups of young people were well prepared and their navigation was generally very good. The main problems they came across however were down to the nature of the Highland terrain and the fact that it is all open access. It is great that we are free to roam anywhere in the mountains and valleys of Scotland, however it does require a good knowledge of the terrain so as to plan appropriate routes, given there are very few footpaths marked on maps and indeed in reality on the ground. This is something we therefore put a lot of focus on to help improve their route choices and planning for future expeditions. Some of the main points they learnt were to do with Safe River Crossings, and to have alternatives when it is not safe to do so, as many small streams marked on maps can become raging torrents within a few hours of heavy rainfall, which is not uncommon in the Highlands! Coming across 7ft tall deer fences were another issue when the groups originally planned their routes, as there are infrequently gates/stiles where you want them to be. Last but not least, yomping through knee high heather up steep mountains with a heavy expedition pack takes it’s toll, and unless you’re a super fit SAS type you’re not going to keep 4km/hr up! Having said that, although they set themselves a tough challenge, taking in 24km a day generally, including some mighty munros, and not to mention wild camping every night, they managed and succeeded very well and I was genuinely impressed with their achievements. 

 

Yorkshire 3 Peaks for Age UK

ageuk croppedOn Sunday Trev and Charlie took a group of 15 participants from AGE UK around the route of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

 

They set off at 08:10 and it quickly became apparent that there was a wide range of experience within the group. Some were regular hill walkers and some had a lot less experience. The group quickly split with Charlie taking the fastest 10 and Trev bringing up the rear with 5. They continued around the route pretty much in this formation with 9 of the lead group of 10 completing the route in under 11 hours (some even raced off ahead on the last peak and just missed a 10 hour time).

 

Andrew Fearnley from Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees had these kind words to say regarding the day.

 

"Both Charlie and Trev showed good leadership skills and were very helpful to all members of Team Age UK. I have no hesitation in recommending Lupine Adventure Co-op and the excellent service they provide, to any other group who are doing a similar challenge event."

 

 If you are interested in running a sponsored walk around the Yorkshire 3 Peaks (or other areas) then take a look at our sponsored events and challenges pages. If you are organising a big event we have a specific charity event organisers page too.

 

Return of the Reds!

Return of the Reds!

Last year while waiting at a checkpoint for a group walking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks I watched a squirrel run along the top of a dry stone wall, just a few metres away from me, and then disappear out of sight.

There would be nothing particularly unusual about this except that this looked like a red squirrel, and I’d thought that there were no red squirrels in these parts. Maybe, I thought, it was in fact a grey with a reddish coat (coat colour varies a lot within both species and often causes confusion). A few minutes later the squirrel ran past again and this time there was no mistaking it; the tufts on its ears stood out clearly, and grey squirrels do not have ear tufts. This was a red.

Red squirrel numbers in the UK have been in decline since the 19th century when the larger grey squirrel was introduced to this country from America.  In Yorkshire, as far as I knew, they were limited to areas further north and west than my sighting, though it seems that they have been spreading. Perhaps my sighting was a one-off (I have heard stories of squirrels being captured by gardeners and then released some miles away, which could explain my sighting, whilst also being a problem when greys are released into areas still populated by reds), but perhaps not. Reports of sightings in Yorkshire have been on the rise since records began in the late 1990s, and conservation work is now being carried out at several sites in the Yorkshire Dales including Wensleydale.

There are many reasons to walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks (not to mention any number of other walks in the area), and any number of plant and animal species and other sights of interest en-route. Let’s hope that red squirrels are soon added to the list.

 

Red Squirrels Northern England is a conservation organisation active in the north of England. If you see a red squirrel then they want to hear about it. http://www.rsne.org.uk/

Lots of information about the Yorkshire Three Peaks and surrounding area: http://www.yorkshire3peaks.org.uk/

 

Lupine Adventure’s Yorkshire Three Peaks page: http://www.lupineadventure.co.uk/sponsored-events/yorkshire-3-peaks-sponsored-event.html

 

A road sign from Paterdale in the Lake District. Let's hope these become a sight on the roads of Yorkshire.
Image0486

DofE First Aid Training


Lupine helped out on a Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) training day for a school down in the home counties at the end of January. Three of us went down and we supported the teaching staff by instructing on different areas of the DofE expedition syllabus. We each did an hour on a specific area then got the next group for an hour, etc. Laura did some navigation, Dave covered menu planning and I covered first aid.

 

I tried something new (for me) and it worked quite well. First I explaining that the reason for putting someone in a sling is to immobilise the limb, this means that the casualty doesn't have to hold it in such a way that it is not painful, thus freeing up their good hand. This is very important if the casualty then has to walk cross country to help. I then split the group into 3.

 

arm in a sling

Group 1: Given a first aid kit with various bandages

Group 2: Given a bag with some things in it that are on our kit list but no first aid kit

Group 3: Not given anything and told to use what they had brought to the school class room that day.

 

One of them then pretended to be a casualty presenting a certain injury. They then immobilised the limb and we compared the results. It was often the case that the bandages gave the least support of the 3.

 

From this I think that it is important for all of us, when in a first aid situation to think about all the resources that we have available and not necessarily to focus on what is in our first aid kits.

 

 

 

As an aside my current first aid trainer Helen Underwood gave me a great tip on my first course with her which was as follows. If you have to put a bandage on someone but you haven't done it for a while then have a quick practice on an un-injured person first. Get someone else to mimic the position that the casualty is holding their damaged limb and work out how best to apply your bandage (or gaffer tape :-) ).  I have actually done this for someone with a broken arm and while for a bit it doesn't really inspire confidence it definitely makes for a better, more comfortable sling application when you move to doing it to the person who is in pain.

Year 10 Year group camp

chiswick-yr10-016In July we put on a year group camp in Surrey for 130 year 10's from a London based school. We had worked with the school the previous year when about 80 year 10's came up to the Peak District and endured terrible weather during a 3 day walking expedition around Edale.

 

As this was to be the whole year group to save on the transport costs our 16 staff went down to them to the Surrey Hills. We had the group for 3 days and ran a variety of activites where the groups competed for points. These involved various team builiding / and learning games as well as what could best be decribed as a large orinteering course that covered a vast area that they could also choose to use to collect points.

 

On top of that different groups got up to different activities that took their fancy, One lot built a big swing out of pionerring poles, we had a pretty massive tug of war, some just wanted to light a fire and toast marshmellows.

 

It was a great 3 days that finished on a massive game of capture the flag in the woods (which was frankly terrifying).

chiswick-yr10-025

 

Willow Climbing session

Willow-abseilAndy, Tina and Charlie spent a day volunteering for Barnardos Willow project this week. Willow is a support service for young carers aged 5-18 years old living in Leeds. Willow support children and young people who care for a family member affected by a physical or mental health illness, disability or substance misuse problem.

 

We took 9 youngsters and 3 Willow volunteers out for a day of climbing at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire. With 3 of us working it enabled us to fill the day with a couple of weaseling sessions as well as a number of routes and a monster abseil. They were a really up for it group who managed to deal with all the climbs that we could throw at them.

willow-group

Welsh 1000's

The forecast had been terrible. However, I awoke at 05:30 in Llanberis to blue skies and sunshine. I checked the forecast again and it was better, still terrible but better. I drove out to Llandudno to meet Hugh and the other 19 participants. This was when the thunder and lightning started. After a short briefing I drove to the start point to meet Richie and Patrick, the two other leaders who were to work the day with me. On the way I received a text from Richie.

Potentially worth adding a clause to your website: "Please do not book your long distance endurance based events on the date of the apocalypse"

Apparently the weather wasn't any better in the Mountains.

 

w1000-cloudWe took the difficult decision that we could not go up to the first ridge as there was still the occasional lightning bolt so informed the group that we would go up to the corrie and go round the base and back to Ogwen Cottage before going over the Glydders. As we trekked up the side of the hill the cloud dispersed completely so we changed plan again and went for the tops.

 

Just as we approached the first top the cloud came back. We did the Carneddau section taking in Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd in pretty poor visibility and torrential rain at times in 6 hours.

 

We decided that we couldn't really go on as we were, two of the 20 decided that a 6 hour mountain day was enough and they had had quite enough fun already and left it at that. The rest split in to two teams.  Patrick heroically took 3 off to complete their Plan A challenge of the Welsh 1000's finishing at 23:20. The remaining 15 decided that one of their priorities for the day included curry and beer so Richie and I took them for a further 6 hour walk up by the Devils Kitchen, over both the Glydders and down Bristly ridge to make sure they had earned it.

Glyder-fawr    cantilever 
 Glyder Fawr    The Cantilever

 

I think it was a tough day with tough conditions and tough decisions to be made on the way. Everyone did exceptionally well and seemed to have a great day.

 

Details of our challenge events can be found on our sponsored events and challenges pages.

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