By: Blonde Two

On Saturday, Blonde One and I will be taking some brand new youngsters for their first taste of Dartmoor.  Nothing too strenuous, lots of navigation technique, some discussions about emergency procedures and hopefully lots of fun.  Putting aside all of the safety and planning, it is also quite daunting being responsible for whether or not they choose to come back again.  Or, as our veteran put it to Blonde One at the weekend, whether or not they eventually “Get Dartmoor.”

Taking new youngsters out can be an uncertain time but it has some advantages. They are usually very eager to please and, when it comes to Ten Tors, keen to start earning “get-into-the-team” points.  There are lots of surprises in store for them.  Some surprises will be encouraging; like finding out that they have a good sense of direction or learning that they have a natural gift of encouragement.  Other surprises will not be so easy to digest; for example discovering what really cold fingers feel like or experiencing the ache of a full rucksack after a day’s walking.  The trick is to make sure that, for each of them, the good balances out the bad and they keep at it.

One thing that I am really looking forward to on Saturday is the many “talks” that I will get to deliver.  You might remember “The Fox Talk” from the summer.  I don’t need that one yet but I have been brushing up on;  “The Minibus Talk” (featuring – if you are going to throw up do it out of the window), “The Teamwork Talk” (featuring – don’t push your friend in the river), “The Environment Talk” (featuring – bananas don’t grow on Dartmoor) and (a personal favourite) “The Don’t Make Your Leader Grumpy” talk (featuring – give us all lots of sweeties).

Blonde One and I still have an important decision to make.  I have always fancied being called M’am.  Our veterans just laughed at us when we suggested it but newbies, as I have said, are eager to please.  Should we insist and see if we can get away with it? …