The Perse School

Ridge walking, first aid training & climbing – PES Summit 12 field weekend

20 Oct 2015

Last weekend, members of PES Summit 12 headed off to their field weekend in the Peak District, to practise the skills they have learned so far this term, in preparation for their expedition to Bolivia next summer. Steph Budenberg wrote a diary of the weekend’s events – we hope you enjoy reading.

Day 1:
“Going with the flow” was the motto for our bus journey. After four hours of being locked in an overheating van with no toilets, no food and no sleep we arrived at camp. And promptly left again for a trip to the small town of Buxton, where we immersed our senses in a wide range of food. From spicy chicken curry to KFC, we all satisfied our hunger.

Day 2:
Waking up at the crack of dawn, we had a prolonged breakfast featuring brilliant bacon butties and very little ketchup along with some egg-cellent deep fried eggs. After organising ourselves somewhat we left for a wonderful adventure of hiking on hills, with some ridge walking experience to simulate the glaciers in South America. The day was filled with many philosophical discussions which left us thoroughly perplexed and yet much more appreciative of the surrounding environment. The day gave us a good sense of what it will be like to walk with our Fires in Bolivia.

We arrived back at camp and promptly started to make our second curry of the trip. This was a delightful group meal featuring some particularly enthusiastic card games, and a good presentation about the Bolivian environment.

Day 3:
We woke up and made ourselves an assortment of porridge and cereal. Well prepared we left for a wonderful day filled with interesting and insightful first aid scenarios, walking safety demonstrations to ensure that we knew how to safely take on the Bolivian glaciers and also some rock climbing and rock scrambling to improve our confidence. This was truly a delightful day and aided our group work and general mountain safety knowledge. Returning to camp we made ourselves our own chorizo pasta dinner which was surprisingly delicious, followed by custard and Jamaica cake.

However, the day was not done yet. We then all embarked on a night hike in the cold and dark environment. After some wonderful singing and again more deeply philosophical discussions we reached the peaceful top of the hill, where we all sat and just thought about life, the universe and everything in the beautifully still night air. Returning to camp we mostly settled down for a last sleep.

Day 4:
Eating runny gruel and old flapjack we prepared to leave camp. However, once again there was a slight twist. Instead of packing up in the usual manner we were all placed in the scenario that there had been an avalanche, with six broken femurs and an unconscious casualty which we had to evacuate from camp. With the threat of hill sprints, most of the cohort were running fearfully around, except for a lucky few who sat ‘injured’ in the minibus with the radio on enjoying a brief respite from the activity.

Finally, we cleared up all the campsite and prepared to embark on the long journey home. All in all, it was a great, well-organised trip which gave us a little taste of the adventure to come, and helped to prepare us mentally and physically for the challenge.

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