Friday, 28 September 2012

If you go down to the woods today...

... you’d meet 12L’s volunteer managers having their trek and jungle camp training.

We all got our bags packed and thought that they seemed heavy but manageable; sleeping bag, mossie net, spare shoes, spare pants – all the essentials.  Then we were divided into teams and given the rest of the kit to divide out; tents, trangias, four washing-up bowls, shovel, machete, bleach, fuel, refried beans etc – suddenly a whole lot heavier and a whole lot less manageable.
Heading off
Having allocated roles and read the map we headed off, heavy laden and an hour late.  The first meeting place (which we did all find – hooray for navigation training) was a very rickety, disused railway bridge.  
Cue Risk Assessment training.
Dave assessing the risk
The question “Would you cross this bridge?” divided the group fair and square down the middle with some screaming “hell yes!” and just as many “you have got to be kidding me!” I guess that’s why Raleigh has a process for sorting this kind of thing out. Having established that risk of death was beyond negligible we turned tail and started walking again.

Camping out that night we all got a bit closer to our fellow team mates and got as much sleep as we could for our 4.30 wake up call.  The next rendezvous was a river crossing.
Jae, Ruth and Jim crossing the river
Water safety is a biggie.  Again it was an opportunity to get close, with the recommended way of getting across the water being in a huddle.

Then on to jungle camp, and the introduction to basha beds or basha hammocks.  For the uninitiated I will explain what these are but if you stay with this blog for a few months I’m sure that you will become very well acquainted with the term.  Basically you have a stretcher like piece of canvas supported by bamboo poles at each end which is then held between two bamboo tripods (basha bed) or roped to two trees (basha hammock).  Then for the home comforts, something to help you stay dry and something to keep you bite free.
Basha hammock
Apparently a basha hammock is the most comfortable thing ever if you get it right and the very least comfortable if you get it wrong.  No pressure there then.  With two hours to have their first attempt, and the night, tiredness and hunger closing in not everyone was convinced that they were going to be rewarded with a good night’s sleep – and to be fair some of them were right.  Being suspended in a lop-sided fashion above a nest of ants doesn’t make for a very restful night. But some people slept like babies so I guess it’s something that we can aspire to.
Whisky 3 - coming home
Whisky 3 - Clare, Karen, Dave, Sarah and Phil
Team Whisky 3 – Dangling Dave (don’t ask, you had to be there), Clare, Karen, Sarah (Flynny), Phil and Pauline (out of shot) have asked me to make special mention of the fact that their campsite was twice as far as anyone else’s – so if they look particularly downtrodden in the pictures then that is their excuse and they are sticking to it.


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