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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.

Lots of information about the Yorkshire Three Peaks and surrounding area:


Lupine Adventure’s Yorkshire Three Peaks page:


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

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.


Useful Links

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).



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.


If you would like to book a climbing instructor for one or more days then take a look at our rock climbing pages for the sort of activities that we can provide.


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.

Icelandic Trolls, Rock Balancers, and Responsible Mountaincraft

These stacked stones on a cairn on the plateau of Kinder Scout reminded me of a walking holiday in IcelandKinder-cairn-for-blog a few years ago. There I saw many little stone towers, and was told by locals that they were said to be built by trolls. I quite like this piece of folklore, but I'm not sure if it can explain the stones on Kinder Scout.

Recently I came across the concept of stone balancing which might do more to explain things. I have to admit that I was sceptical of it as an art form, until I saw this website which converted me:  


In many mountain areas of the UK cairn building and cairn removal have become a problem. New cairns have reduced the usefulness of those that are placed to aid navigation, and the large numbers of people adding to cairns can cause problems with habitat/erosion. On the other hand the altering or removal of cairns has also caused problems. Having been brought up always to add to cairns in the interest of responsible mountaincraft, I now find myself encouraging people not to do so for the same reason.

This article explains some of the issues:


The Lynn Eigiau Dam Disaster

During a recent expedition in Snowdonia a group from Warwick school spent a night wild camping near Lynn Eigiau in the Carneddau.


One of the school staff had produced a fact sheet on the Eigiau dam disaster of 1925, when the reservoir dam breached resulting in several deaths. The dam is still in place today (providing a nice windbreak for the campsite) and the breach can clearly be seen.


I've thought for a while that 'disasters' makes a good theme for outdoor education - the British countryside is full of the sites of plane crashes, industrial disasters and of course mountaineering deaths. In this case it was the breach of a reservoir dam resulting in the loss of 17 lives. There is of course a risk of appearing heartless or macabre when dwelling on these disasters, but there is equally the potential not only for increased awareness and thought but also for igniting genuine interest in the wider historical, geographical and political contexts of these events as well as in the mountains themselves.  


The Eigiau dam was built in 1911 by the Aluminium Corporation to provide water for a power station, to power the aluminium works at the nearby village of Dolgarrog. Its construction was the cause of controversy over allegations of corner cutting by a contractor and today the dam can be seen to have been inadequately constructed.  In 1925 following several days of heavy rain the dam failed releasing huge quantities of water down the valley to Coedty reservoir, the dam of which then also failed releasing the flood water into Dolgarrog and resulting in 17 deaths. It is thought that the death toll could have been even higher had not many of the villagers been in the local cinema. In 2004 a memorial walk was opened by the last survivor of the disaster, Fred Brown, who had lost family members in the flood.


The breach in the dam wall at Lynn Eigiau

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You are reading an article from the Lupine Adventure Co-op Blog. Click Lupine Blog to see more posts or view a list of all blog posts.