By: Blonde Two

When we arrived at the Ashburton Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team’s headquarters on Saturday morning the inside of the centre looked as though a giant spider had been working through the night.  There were ropes of all colours and associated pulleys, straps and harnesses strung across the centre and attached to beams.  Some were even attached to the team Landrover.

Luckily for us (at least two of our youngsters and one Blonde are scared of spiders) there was no giant arachnid; instead, the lovely Dartmoor Rescue chaps had spun this web as a rope activity for our youngsters.  The scenario was simple, we had a walking casualty on one side of the Dart Gorge (which is usually much louder and wetter than the floor of a rescue centre) and Team Youngster had to use the system of ropes to get the casualty to safety sitting on a chair on the other side (I had no ideas that the Gorge was set up with such convenient furniture!)

Luckily we didn’t have to figure out how to work this bewildering array of equipment on their own.  Under Simon’s excellent tuition, our youngsters soon got the hang of it despite one of the largest of their number volunteering to be the first casualty.  For most of them, it was their first taste of rope work and it was clear on their faces and from comments afterwards that they were enjoying it.  There were a few grimaces from those that had to dangle from harnesses – I think an element of constriction was occurring but definitely didn’t want to ask!

All good rope sessions end in rope-putting-away.  Those of you who have climbed or sailed will know that this is never just bundling everything into a heap.  Ropes were checked and then carefully (folded?) (place?) (rolled?) I am not sure what it is called but the process involved a lot of laughing and some strange over-the-head manoeuvres.

A great time was had by all and huge thanks must go to the guys at DSRTA who gave up their time once more.  They are very busy chaps; as well as the day jobs, call-outs and training, they have to do all of their own fundraising.  Our youngsters were pleased to be able to give a bit back by washing the team vehicles, doing a few outside chores and giving a donation from their own money.  You could give a donation too, go on, you know you want to and it is really easy – find out more here: Vehicles L