On Sunday I ran a map and compass skills course for 5 clients from London. The group were all people who had moved to the UK to live and work. They were from diverse parts of the world including India, Italy, Australia, Russia and New Zealand.
The course was held in Tring which is part of the Chilterns AONB
As a group we enjoyed a glorious sunny day with stunning view across the Chilterns. All of the group were excellent learners and really grasped the basics of using a map and compass to navigate around the countryside and to be able to plan there own walks in future.
Thanks for a great day to Jo,James,Anya,Claudia and George.
In October 2016 I will be taking 30 clients to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. On Saturday the first of two meet ups was held to allow the group to get together and meet for the first time. On this occasion 16 people were able to attend for the day.
After an inital meet up at Go Outdoors in Coventry to discuss clothing and equipment for the trip, we then went on a 9 mile walk around the Warwickshire countryside.
After the walk finished we returned to the Strawberry Bank Hotel in Meriden for a further kit talk during which I gave a brief lecture on kit I would be using on Kilimanjaro based on my previous trip.
Following this the group then enjoyed a well deserved meal at the hotel.
Overall the day was a great success and allowed everybody to meet up and ask lots of questions about the trip.
The weekend gave Neil the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in learning to lead a group walking. Our route started in a small village south of Buxton called Longnor. From here we walked south through the gritstone landscape passing the remains of Pilsbury Castle an Iron Age Fort onto Hartington.
After a short stop we continued further South where the geology of the landscape changed to limestone and the stunning Wolfscale Dale.
The walk then continued onto Wetton Mill and the Manifold Trail.
We then followed the Manifold Valley Trail to Hulme End and beyond returning to Longnor for a well deserved pint after 21 miles of walking.
This week I have been up in Snowdonia working with several schools.On Monday I took a group of girls from a London School on a navigation day around the lower slopes of Snowdon in preparation for there forthcoming D of E expedition. During the day we walked across open land looking at the skills required to navigate in poor visibility on featureless terrain.
I have also been working with a group of boys from a school in Kent as an assessor on there Gold D of E expedition. The boys chose an ambitious route for there 4 day expedition taking in all the major mountain ranges in Northern Snowdonia – Carnneddau, Glyderau and Snowdon.
On Wednesday I ascended Snowdon via the Watkin path in order top meet the boys as they climbed Snowdon from the opposite side on the Ranger Path.
After meeting the boys on the summit I descended down the Rhyd-Ddu path to Bwlch Cwm Llan to meet up at there planned wild camp spot by a small lake.
Over the past 3 weeks I have been very busy working on several D of E expeditions at Bronze,Silver and Gold Levels. The work has taken me to the Surrey Hills, Chilterns, Wokingham and Cannock Chase. During the period I have worked with pupils from London Oratory School, Queen Elizabeth Girls School – Barnet, Abbey Hill Special School – Stoke on Trent and Great Marlow School.
This week I have spent 4 days up in the sunny Brecon Beacons working on a Gold D of E Qualifying expedition with Windsor High School.
I have been working as an assessor/supervisor with 7 young people who were completing the final stage of there expedition phase for there Gold D of E.
On the first day we met up and discussed there route planning for the next 4 days and what was expected of the group during this time.
The format for each day would be to meet my group in camp at the beginning and end of each day. During there expedition I would meet the group at several identified checkpoints throughout the day to check on there progress and welfare.
During the expedition the team walked over several mountains including Pen Y fan, Corn Du, Fan Llia and Fan Dringarth.
Whilst waiting on the summit top to checkpoint one of the other teams out on the hill I witnessed a large group of local gym enthusiasts ascend Pen Y Fan and proceed to hold a tug of war contest on the top. I can safely say I have not witnessed an event like this on a mountain before.
As a supervisor and assessor I like to get out onto the tops and walk in to meet my teams. On this day I got to climb Pen Y Fan twice in the morning and then early evening watching the ever changing light conditions as the sun set.
Whilst walking in wild country it is always nice to stop and talk to local farmers as you pass through and over there land. At this particular farm they were cutting up a 120ft tree which had been blown over in storms on Boxing day narrowly missing the farmer and his family whilst in the farmyard.
The expedition was a great success and all of the team were successful. It was a pleasure to work with such a motivated and fun group who were always smiling and laughing no matter how tough the trip was at times.
Thanks to all the team and there teacher Emily for making the 4 days such a memorable experience.