Friday, 4 March 2016

I'm a DisTIL Member Get me out of Here!!

So this week the DisTIL Team, led by Josh and JP went rogue and disappeared off site to the tropics of Standlake where we had Bushcraft Training.

This all began when we were told to pack a bag with everything we would need for dinner, breakfast and a camp out. Then we were sent on our way armed with a  map and compass to try and find our campsite for the night.
We love walking in the rain!
This all seems pretty easy and obvious, and for most of the walk it was fine. We could all read the map and made it to our lunch stop in good time, and even got the privilege of lunch in the sun after the mornings rains had calmed down.

pleasant walk up to lunch stop
Shortly after leaving the lunch break we came across a short part of the walk where we were supposed to be able to hop over a steam and carry on our merry way. However, this being England, there had been much rain over the past couple of days and the 'Little Stream' was now a full blown river, and was flowing at quite a pace!
For most of us this was an obvious no and we were all set to turn back and try another route had it not been for Ben walking straight into the river and over to the other side!
It was then we realised the water wasn't actually all that deep, but we still didn't want to get our only pair of shoes for the next three days soaked with river water....
Luckily for us Ben stepped up as the hero and carried all of us and our packs across the river to safety! (All at different times of course, or that really would have been impressive.....)

Ben our Hero!!
Having tackled that hurdle we carried on and made to the campsite in time to set up our tents and make dinner for the night. Unfortunately Rachel had left us at lunch after being ill, so wasn't there for the night, leaving Beth and me to share a rather chilly three man tent to ourselves.

Camp for night 1
After dinner we were all rather relieved when Josh told us all to hop in the bus because we were going to the pub! There we played many card games and warmed up nicely ready for our night in the tents.
Games in the Pub
The next morning we woke up and cooked breakfast over our stoves. Then we had Shelter building training by Josh and JP, followed by Fire building training.
This was all setting us up for the biggest adventure of all, designing and building our own tarp shelters that we were to sleep in that night. We also had to cook our dinner and breakfast over a fire that we had to build and maintain using our learnt knowledge.

Rachel making fire
So there we have it our next challenge!
We split off into groups and decided on our tarp designs: Ben + Marc = Tipi, Beth + Emily B= open wedge, Rachel + Claire + me = two wedges facing each other and closing off the gap.
These all looked so good so far, but we were still anxious to see if they would hold out over night.

Next we came together and built a fire as a group, then took up cooking roles. Some did the chopping, whilst other collected fire wood, and some were fire masters that kept it alive.

Team Chop
These roles worked out well and we all swapped around a bit to try out different things. I am happy to report we made a great tasting chicken stew (with a vegetarian option for Beth of course) and all filled up nicely, complete with Swiss role and Custard for dessert, Luxury!

Mmmmm Dinner...
Having washed up and put everything away we were then set our next challenge by Josh, which was night navigation!
So we set off on a walk that would be 'Less that an hour' (Josh's famous last words), and eventually returned 2.5 hours later at about 11:45pm when we all wriggled into out homemade shelters and snuggled down for the night in our sleeping bags (or 2 sleeping bags, or even 3...).

Camp for night 2
The night was actually a great success for most of us!
There was only a little patter of rain, and no-one got wet! However the wind was pretty strong and, although the girls didn't feel it in their shelters that were lower to the ground, the boys Tipi apparently rattled around a bit and they didn't get the best nights sleep worrying if the shelter would blow away or not!

Even so we all arose ready for the day and refueled on bacon and egg butties made on another fire.

After this we packed away all out shelters and had session leader training. We then split into groups and held small shelter building sessions for the rest of the team. Then we looked at fires again and how we can teach kids about playing with fire the correct way, and how they can cook on it with our help.
Shelter Building session leading
Soon after this we came to the end of our adventure and had to pack up into the van and leave the campsite to return to base and much need showers!

It was a great experience to have and I am so happy to have achieved camping out in our own shelters successfully!

All that is left to do now is prep for our D of E Gold practice expedition we are embarking on on Monday....
Wish us luck!

Check back with us next week to see how that all pans out.


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