By: Blonde One

I have not always been knowledgeable about the outdoors and how to enjoy them safely. I was well into my adulthood when I first discovered that I got pleasure from helping other people to enjoy being outside. I worked in a school and decided to get involved in the wider school community by helping the Ten Tors and DofE manager to run the classroom based sessions and the walks out on Dartmoor. This decision, as it turned out, was to change my life! Sounds dramatic doesn’t it?! It’s true though. Because of this decision I have done some spectacularly amazing things, I have met the most fabulous of people and I have become skilled at using a map and compass. The decision alone was not the only important thing. Perhaps more important was the person that I started helping: step forward Lyndsay. I watched Lyndsay working tirelessly so that teenagers could achieve huge success on the Ten Tors Challenge. She has worked with hundreds of youngsters in the 20+ years that she has been doing this and she showed me that being a woman was absolutely no barrier to being able to navigate and teach others to navigate too. Lyndsay had faith in me and encouraged me to begin my own journey of outdoor leadership. She never failed to motivate me and reassure me that I could do it. Turns out she was right! As if this wasn’t enough Lyndsay was instrumental in giving me the confidence to embark on my degree and teacher training course. She spent many hours listening to me trying to make sense of weird books such as ‘Pamela’ (I don’t recommend you read it unless the only alternative is watching paint dry).

My other inspiration is responsible for me taking groups of teenagers to foreign climes. Not too many years ago I would never have dreamed that I would be capable of taking groups of children to trek in the mountains of Morocco. Working with Sue on one such trip inspired me to give it a go. Despite only just meeting, Sue had an unwavering confidence in me. There was no doubt in her mind that I could do it. Like Lyndsay, it turns out she was right! Sue taught me many many skills for expeditioning in challenging terrains, vastly different cultures and working with a hugely diverse range of people (adults and children).

I have silently thanked these two inspirational women many times so I am pleased to be able to do it publicly for a change.

Lyndsay and Sue: Thank You, you are legends!