18 September 2008

BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership

Once again I have joined the educational world after a year out when I enrolled at the University of Cumbria's Penrith campus on Monday. Tuesday was the start of the induction process as the whole School of Outdoor's headed out into the Lake District for a three day residential based at a little Youth Centre between Low and High Rigg with the objective of making us a cohesive group of students.

We were left with a multitude of things to plan - before we even got dropped off at what happened to be the put-in for the Keswick Greta; it looked low - like food for the trip and the purchasing of said food. Once abandoned by the minibuses we were given details of where we were staying and off we walked. Skirting around Low Rigg soon had us arriving at the Youth Centre where we rested for a while, waiting for the other students to arrive. Once everyone was accounted for we headed out into the wilderness for a series of small activities with the lecturers around Low Rigg and the Youth Centre.

The next day briefings were held and we were sent out into the wilderness once again with the task of visiting fourteen different check points around the base of High Rigg, the shores of Thirlmere and Great How. Eight of these check points were manned by second year students and the other points were Orienteering clips. We planned out routes before leaving the centre and then headed off for the day.

Looking north-east to Great How from Dowthwaite Gill.

Skirting around the west foot of Yew Crag with the Helvellyn Range in the background.

All had been going swimmingly and by four o'clock, when we had to start heading back, we had only missed out a couple of checkpoints. Getting back was the problem though. We planned our route around the western edge of Yew Crag and High Rigg expecting to find a straightforward path, instead a boggy field of bracken lay in front of us with no sign of a path. Compass Bearings were taken and we just relied on these as we walked back tired, hungry and aching from our exertions.

The evening quickly passed with a trip in to Threlkeld's Salutation and before long the last day was upon us. We cleaned the centre and had it looking like we found it before heading back to campus to sort gear and get cleaned up for a leisurely afternoon. The induction was amazing, and a great way of getting the students comfortable with each other, as well as introducing parts of the year to come. It all looks good in the academic world after such a long break from pen and paper.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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