Well done to the 35 Gold award leaders who navigated their way around a dark forest on Leith Hill. Although quite foggy at first, groups quickly got to grips with navigating accurately between the 8 check points along boggy tracks and paths. A useful training exercise and thanks to the staff who helped.
Latest news from Dan Yr Ogof: sleet and snow to valley level: we made the right decision!! 50 students did their Gold dofe training expedition in South Wales, Black Mountain area – which is in the remote far west of the Brecon Beacons and not to be confused with the lower and easier Black Mountains which are to the far east of the national park. The weather was initially good and most groups got to grips with basic mountain navigation as taught by experienced mountain leader staff. The trekking days were inclement and many students had their first taste of poor mountain weather conditions: well done for surviving! Whilst many coped well, some students found themselves wet and cold and with no spare dry kit, except for spare items delivered by staff. The final day saw temperatures dropping further, wind chill of -6C and snow falling on the mountains with a brisk northerly wind forecast to increase during the day. Whilst the weather was not particularly bad for well equipped and prepared individuals, I took the difficult decision to bail out and come home early because the state of some students would have pushed the potential risk of hypothermia to an unacceptable level. A point to note for assessment: it is important for students to eat plenty for breakfast to avoid endangering themselves and others. Whilst we thoroughly instruct and prepare students for these expeditions, it is often only when we reach the mountains that they discover the importance of their training and the pre-expedition meetings. The large dofe groups we organise for DofE, certainly bigger than those fielded by most schools, require careful management on mountain expeditions. My top quality staff and experienced voluntary adult expedition leaders take on an enormous responsibility looking after students in frequently arduous conditions. If you would like to assist as an adult instructor on our expeditions then please get in touch: in particular if you have significant mountain experience and / or a mountain leader certificate or are simply enthusiastic and willing to prioritise helping students in all conditions then please email me and join the team!