Friday, 26 October 2012

Lakes instructing

I drove down to Halton Training Camp and got there just after 1730. After a long day, weekend in fact, I met the guys on the courses and then went to bed.

Monday morning was met with a brief with the guys on my course and the other 2 instructors, Becky and Jason. We all introduced ourselves, set the course for the week, then headed out into the hills for a bit of navigation training. There was 11 of us: 3 instructors, 7 cadets and one Adult instructor. We went for a place called Cloughna in Lancashire. We let the cadets navigate a few legs just to see what standard their navigation was at. It wasn't too bad, but there were a few points that we needed to make, especially with micro navigation and ground features. So as the day went on, we assessed some of the points and hoped that what we had said had sunk in.

The nights were spent in the bar after lectures on mountain safety and access and conservation. It was a good time to socialise and interact with everyone else on the courses this week.

Tuesday started off much the same. Weather brief in the morning followed by where we were heading. Todays destination; The old man of coniston and Swirl How. We parked up just outside of town, and set off towards the copper mines and the Youth Hostel. On our way up to Levers water, we came across a couple of old mine shafts which we took time out of to explore. only to discover they were filled with water. When we reached Levers water, one of the cadets decided he wanted to paddle. Bearing in mind it's a week left of October! Anyway, we set off up towards the prison band between Wethalam and Swirl How. The cloud came down at this point and navigation was then put to the test for the cadets. We asked them to take us to a point on Great Carrs where they will find the wreckage of a plane that crashed there back in the 40's. They seemed quite excited, set off and later found it. The day concluded with lunch on the summit of the old Man of Coniston, and then descending via Goats tarn in the shadow of Dow crag.

Wednesday, we took inspiration from the BMC mountain essentials DVD and did the Fairfield Horseshoe from Rydal. That night, we headed into Lancaster to shop for food for our exped the next day, and packed kit on returning back to camp.

So the end of the week is nearing. Only our expedition to do now. 2 days in the mountains. Perfect. We started the morning in Ambleside. We took the cadets into Gaynor sports to have a look at the different outdoor gear available and compare the types. We had asked a shop assistant down stairs if it would be ok to do this, and she said it was fine. We paired off the cadets and sent them off round the shop to compare different jackets, boots and base layers etc. However, another shop assistant approached us and in a not very friendly way, asked who was in charge. Jason stepped up, asked if he had a problem and it turned out that he did. Now to cut this story short, the manager kicked us out the shop. Our reason behind it is that his poorly trained staff didn't know the difference between Merino wool and Gore Tex, s when we came in and knew what we were talking about, they felt inferior. Poor customer service!

But asides from that little misunderstanding, we then headed off to Seathwaite, parked up and set off up Sour Milk Ghyll for Green Gable and Great Gable via windy gap. We camped that night at Styhead Tarn. The wind had picked up, and the temperature had dropped. My tent, a Terra Nova Laser Competition 1, was broken, and so the structure was not very secure and the night, not very comfy. The next morning, we woke up to a clear stary sky and ground frost that glisend in the moonlight like tiny crystals. We packed up, and night naved towards Sprinkling tarn, then back down to the minibus, ready for a bacon sandwich from the Apple Pie shop in Ambleside.

Great Gable and Green Gable in the morning light

Sprinkling Tarn at sunrise

And so, the week has been a brilliant experiance and a great insight into the world of freelance instructing. I met some awsome people that week too, who I hope to keep intouch with.

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