This was the wettest and windiest Gold DofE Training trip that I can remember. It was a huge shock for the candidates, many of who had just arrived from Hong Kong, where they had been enjoying temperatures in the mid twenties.
The week-long training camp started in Beddgelert Youth Hostel in Snowdonia with basic training in subjects such as nutrition, cooking, packing, equipment use and care, emergencies and first aid, to name but a few. There was undoubtedly some resistance to taking the training outside when the wind was blowing the rain sideways, but eventually – and after some careful planning – we managed to hide from the wind by travelling to the northern slopes of the National Park, keeping our height below 600 metres.
The week continued with days out on the hills, covering basic navigation training and emergencies. Every day concluded with drying out and hanging absolutely everything to dry in the hostel’s well used drying room.
The final night was 'Camping Night’ and sadly the weather still didn't lift for us, so the team had a very challenging night in a tent. Fortunately we were well pitched in the shelter of a low hedge so the tents didn't get flattened by the gale force winds.
It was an eventful and challenging trip, even for the instructors who are used to these kinds of weather conditions.
Well done to all!
Major Jo Billington