Monday 24 September 2012

Fieldcourse – rain, rain and ... rain
We left Monday morning for the fieldcourse after having Sunday off in minibuses. After arriving in Derby everyone was divided into groups of around 10 people with two instructors. We shared a big tent within these groups, although some decided to out their own tents up ... After lunch we learned how to light “Tilly lamps” and the stoves (they still look like the ones Scott has used). Both are used for producing light and heat when staying in a tent. And the stove can obviously also be used for cooking and melting snow. We were also talked through the climbing equipment for the next day.
In the evening a group of 4 people took up the challenge to make dinner which was tomato sauce with corn beef and noodles. Tasted really good considering the limited supplies we had (we struggled finding salt and pepper).
After breakfast the next morning, we went out into the field to practice our climbing skills which later when
we arrive at Rothera are going to be practised further in order to carry out crevasse rescue. We did abseiling and jumaring (climbing back up a rope using certain climbing equipment). Whilst we were up there it was nearly constantly raining and the wind was howling ... When it was not our turn we were hiding from the elements. Complaints were held back though as everytime that we looked to Mike and Cheese (our two instructors) we saw them sitting on top without any shelter and neither shivering nor complaining! After getting back we quickly warmed up in a cafe having hot chocolate and other hot beverages. Back in the camp we did some “white-out training”. When we are out in the field it might happen that we lose any sense of direction due to fog and everything being white. Hence we were given goggles which were blanked out and while we were in the tent (due to weather we used the back of a vehicle), the other group put them obstacles up and hid one of our group members who we had to recover only us and a long rope available. It was pretty good fun, we eventually found out group member, no one got hurt and we found back into our tent safe and sound!
After dinner (pasta bake with tuna but without the baking bit) a few of us went to the next swimming pool (Mike kindly offered to drive). Unfortunately, the fun pool bit was closed and we had to behave in the grown up swimming pool (no ball games) but who cares as long as water and swimming is involved ;) (personal opinion). Afterwards we all went to the pub close by (of course the field we camped in had to have a pub close by – guess that was a vital criterion for choosing this particular spot). By the time we got there after swimming, the rest of us had already occupied half of the pub by spreading out and drying socks, trousers, jumpers and so on ... Pretty inviting locality with fireplaces
Unfortunately, most of the people had had enough of the rough weather and so we left a day early. During Wednesday morning we went for a walk and practiced our navigation skills with a map, compass and various methods finding our way around and getting from A to B. In the afternoon we went home. On Thursday a few of us helped cleaning everything, the amount of mud coming off everything was quite impressive. Of course, on Thursday we had beautiful sunshine.