We are in the final stages of our training and with only 18 days to go until we jet off half way around the world we thought we would update you about what we have been up to over the past few months.
During the summer holidays we had a bit of a break from the regular training weekends, but with the expedition fast approaching there was no rest of the wicked, with plenty of organising for the September fundraising event. Each participant was tasked with sourcing raffle prizes, finding table games and creating a quiz to rival Alan and Jamie’s Christmas Quiz Extravaganza. Descending on Abbey Hall in Netley in mid-September the team hosted a really successful Chili and Quiz Night that was well attended by friends and family of the team, as well as members of HSX. It was a really enjoyable evening and the team managed to raise funds towards the expedition as well.
Aside from this in September the team also had a training weekend in the New Forest. It was a developmental weekend that pushed and challenged the whole team. It was a really tough weekend, but really helped the team bond together as a unit and improved our team working and communication skills, as well as being stuffed full of memories that we won’t forget in a hurry!
October – North Wales
Our October weekend saw the team brave the worst of the elements in North Wales. On the Saturday we awoke to the full force of Storm Brian. Undeterred by the 60mph guests the team bravely headed out into the mountains to make the most of the day, despite being hit square on in the face by a barrage of horizontal rain and gale force winds!
The walk started off pleasant enough with squally showers, but within 30 minutes we were all soaked to the skin. Regardless, we started our ascent up Crimpiau, after all these are conditions that we could easily face in Patagonia. After what seemed like an eternity we stumbled onto the peak, but as soon as we emerged onto the summit we were blasted by even stronger wind and rain, so we beat a hasty retreat to a more sheltered spot.
After grabbing a quick drink and a bite to eat (it really wasn’t a day for hanging around) we skirted around the side of Craig Wen, still in the pouring rain. The rest of the walk was a blur of wind and rain, with the final walk along the A5 feeling more like we were following the course of a raging river than a scenic A-road, but eventually made it back to the bunkhouse.
Little did we know that while we were out in the hills, our tents had been taken a battering by Storm Brian, to the point they were completely flattened and deemed useless! We popped into the bunkhouse, to find the rest of HSX sat round with a brew, after they’d helpfully sorted out all our kit, so after a quick cup of tea and a set of dry clothes we headed to the backup location, the “other” bunkhouse at Garth’s Farm, in the neighbouring valley. This bunkhouse, unlike Garth’s primary bunkhouse had no electricity, no heating and no running water, but at least it was out of the wind and rain!
Sunday was a more relaxed walk in the Ogwen Valley, with the team practicing navigation and leading the group. The whole team benefited from the experience and improved our knowledge of how to deal with the wet and the cold in the mountains; skills that will be vital in Patagonia.
November – Packing Weekend
Our final training weekend was a packing and First Aid weekend. This was an opportunity for the team to pack their bags ready for the expedition, and check they all had enough, or in some cases not too much, kit. Each member of the team had been given a weight limit of 15kg, and reducing four weeks’ worth of kit down to this is quite a challenge.
The afternoon was spent sorting out the group kit, checking tents had enough pegs, poles weren’t too bent from the October weekend and no-one had returned a dirty pan-set to stores! Once we were happy that we had everything sorted for the expedition, the team were set the task of planning one of their days in Santiago. Revelling in the chance to have ownership of this, they soon set about planning, surrounding themselves in guidebooks and surfing the internet.
Sunday saw the team joined by Clare, a First Aid trainer who had agreed to help run an expedition specific First Aid course for the team. The team soon set about practicing how to preform CPR, set a patient into the recover position, as well as recognise the signs of hyper/hypothermia and treat a sprained ankle.
The course culminated with the team taking part in a First Aid scenario, in which Ellis has sustain a compound fracture to her leg and Chris was going into shock. Thanks to some great prosthetic make-up (there really was a lot of blood!) and some superb acting, the team were really put on the spot and had to call upon all they’d learned to deal with this scenario.
Training complete there really is nothing left to do to get prepared for the expedition. Next stop Santiago!!!!