By: Blonde One

“What?” You may be thinking. “Another blog from Blonde One? That makes several in a row! Unheard of!!!” I know, I can’t quite believe it myself. I hope Blonde Two is proud of me. I would like to say that this is a new pattern and I have raised my game to match Blonde Two but we all know that’s not going to happen! Anyway, back to the blog …

This weekend I have been ‘flying solo’ and taking out a new type of expedition. Some of the youngsters were ones that I have worked with before and some were new to me and new to outdoorsy stuff. I think it’s fair to say that I had polar opposites with me. At the one end there was one of our young leaders who exhibits some of the best leadership skills that I have ever seen in a youngster and at the other extreme there was a youngster who had to borrow all of his kit, had never camped and had never held a compass! The planning and delivery of this trip had been a bit of a challenge. How to get the right level for everyone? I needed to make it accessible enough for the novice to be able to participate and enjoy it, yet hard enough for the young leader to not think it was a boring waste of time (I am confident that he wouldn’t be so rude). Two days of differentiated work ensued. The novice walker learned a wealth of skills: tent pitching, gaiter wearing, map setting, Trangia lighting, to name but a few. The young leader began to learn about poor visibility skills, precise pacing, timings, etc. He reminded me of the reasons why he is a young leader as he soaked up the new knowledge and was very keen to test his new skills. The youngsters in between firmed up their navigation skills and by the end of the expedition were much more confident. At the end of the trip I had a conversation with one of them (a Ten Tors veteran) who almost brought a tear to my eye and reminded me (as if I could forget) about why I do this. He explained that as he wasn’t team leader or navigator of his Ten Tors team he had never really had chance to practice his skills. He confessed to wondering if this expedition would be too easy and boring. After doing a substantial amount of navigation he stated that he never expected to learn so much and enjoy it so much! The icing on the cake for me though was when he said: “I get Dartmoor now.”  What a perfect way to describe my relationship with Dartmoor: I get it!