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AMC subsidised training courses Autumn 2018

On a rather wet and windy weekend in October 22 AMC members took part in subsidised training courses in the South West and South Wales. This year the club invested money in our members to help increase our knowledge and experience and develop members skills, particularly around safety. Courses were provided in navigation – for beginners, intermediate and night navigation – and First Aid. A round up of the weekend follows.

Navigation courses

Three separate navigation courses were provided by Dave and Mark of Dave Talbot Adventure Events.

As Dave said, the importance of navigation is easily forgotten about by most folk in the hills. Having the ability to read a map well helps with route planning for adventures like cycling, running, climbing and other outdoor sports.

Jane, Dave, Sam and Sam headed down to the Mendips on Saturday morning to meet Dave the instructor for a day out and about in the hills. The group spent the day learning the fundamental skills of navigation, map setting, interpreting scales, bearings, pacing, timing, using contours and how to keep track of where you are and building confidence.

Using map reading and compass skills for navigation

Successfully finding their trig point

The two other courses took place in the Black Mountains. Due to the soggy and windy forecast, both groups headed to an outdoor education centre just outside Hay on Wye for some ‘dry’ instruction before heading out into the hills to put it into practice. Saturday night was wet and windy and up on the ridge between Hay Bluff and Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s Knob) there was little option to hide from the elements providing a bigger challenge at the start of the evening for Al, Becky and Julian. The evening had them working on their skills with relocation exercises, rucksack location and learning more advanced search skills when one rucksack was not easily found. Mark the instructor took them on a gaunt all over the hills, but even he had to admit to wearing double gortex layers to keep dry! The evening finished at around 11pm, after a sightly odd spectacle of a firework display followed by helium balloons appearing in the night sky high above the mountains.  Lessons were learnt and the importance of not only skills and knowledge but having good kit was definitely put to the test.

Relocation exercise in the dark and rain

The intermediate navigation courses headed up to the same area on the Sunday with Ellie, Sarah and Nigel enjoying a slightly less wet but equally windy day. Mark again provided an excellent days tuition with many hours spent out in the hills building on existing navigation knowledge, developing compass work and relocation skills, feature and contour interpretation, micro nav and improving timing and pacing and looking at the different maps used in the UK.

All of those taking part in the navigation courses said that the days were thoroughly worth while and all gained knowledge through their course. A couple of comments below

“We covered far more than I expected and I felt that the information was explained in a way that ensured we all understood. It was also a great opportunity to meet others from the AMC.”

“We were given the tools and techniques on how to navigate & tested on these throughout the day.”

“Dave was a awesome instructor who made the learning process a totally cool experience!!”

First Aid Training

Sunday morning saw 12 AMCers head down to Shipham village hall to spend a full day on a bespoke First Aid course provided by Louise from Vixon Climbing

The course was designed specifically to cover 1st aid in the environments that as climbers and mountaineers we frequent – often remote, exposed to the elements and with potentially no phone signal or others around to help. When discussing the course with Louise, we had our ideas of what we wanted to learn – definitely not a 1st aid at work course – and Louise delivered everything and more.

  1. Managing first aid incidents in remote contexts i.e. the mountains or the crag

  2. Limb injuries including soft tissue injuries and fractures

  3. Managing situations with potential spinal injuries

  4. Safe movement, transportation and evacuation of casualties

  5. Managing major and minor blood loss

  6. Dealing with environmental factors e.g. the weather and the UK critters (ticks, adders etc)

  7. Preventing, spotting and dealing with hypothermia and heat stroke

  8. Treatment of minor injuries

  9. CPR

  10. Recommendations of what first aid items are actually useful and relevant to climbers, walkers and mountaineers

The course was a full on day for all involved, with lots of practical involvement for all on the course. There were plenty of opportunities to get ‘hands on’ to put into practice what we’d learned. During the course of the day, unexpected hidden acting talents, and hidden tickle spots were uncovered!

Feedback was great and many of those who attended found they learnt far more than they expected to

“everything {was} very relevant to climbing and mountaineering and she had had a lot of experience in the outdoor environment”

The AMC will be supporting more members in 2019 with further subsidised courses. Look out for emails if you’re interested in taking part.

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