By: Blonde Two

Most of us know what “perfect planning” prevents but when you do the “perfect planning” and the performance still turns out to be “….” poor, it is tricky to know where to turn next.  I am beginning to realise that sometimes the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach might be more successful.  I have a big struggle with pant-seat-flying and envy people who can do it with confidence.  You would think this odd if you could see the size of my pants (No, you can’t!) as it is clearly commensurate (most excellent word) with at least a short distance flight.

As you know, Blonde One and I love planning Dartmoor expeditions – this is just as well because when you are taking youngsters out, there is an awful lot of planning to do. In fact, the planning load seems to be expanding daily.  You have to plan everything – who will travel on which bus, who needs to be run up and down a few hills, who can take pictures of who, who will have whose phone number, where you are walking, when you are walking, what the weather is, what you will do with the bags, where you will walk if the weather does something, how long it will take, who is qualified to do what … the list is endless.

Last night I sat down to write a couple of route cards.  This wasn’t really because they needed doing then and there, but it is a job that makes me very happy (the fun bit of the planning) and after yet another tricky day, a happy job next to the fire was just the ticket.  Blonde One and I have realised that at the moment, we use several different types of route cards – all have both useful and annoying elements, so we have promised ourselves that we will sit down soon and create the perfect “Blonde Card”.  As well as the usual “grid reference”, “bearing”, “time” and “escape routes” etc (escape routes are not as exciting as they sound).  I thought, in the interests of over-planning, I would add a few important elements of my own.

“Loo stops” – how much more convenient would it be if everyone stopped to wee at once.  All you need to do is find a long boundary on the map and order full bladders at the appropriate time.

“Faffing around” – on Ten Tors training, it takes approximately 75% of the training time to iron out the “faffing” habit.  If we included it on the route card then we wouldn’t feel the need to iron it out at all.

“Grumpy face” – usually half way up a hill, when the wind and rain are directly into your face and down the inside of your jacket or when you have run out of Jelly Babies.

“Admiring the view” – not so necessary if you are 15 but Blondes do enjoy a strategic view admiration whilst conquering a few contour lines.

“Jelly Baby Sharing” – always needed just after “grumpy face” which you can get if your forget “admiring the view” on the way up a hill.

“General Arsing Around” – excuse the rude word here but I couldn’t think of a better one to describe the playfulness that occurs on initial training trips.  NB, this can be dealt with in planning by including many more contour lines in much less time.

This blog is getting too long now but I am sure that you have essential walk elements of your own that you could include.  Feel free to share them with us …