Getting back to (a sense of) reality?

After an eventful summer, we’re finally getting back to reality and finding some time for ourselves – which we are just as quickly committing to doing other things.

The latest goal is walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks in November in aid of the Cave Rescue Organisation. This is definitely NOT “just a walk in the park” because of the limited number of daylight hours and probable adverse weather. So we’re in the middle of a programme of training walks. To date, there has been a lot of water involved (both underfoot & falling from the sky) and not much sunshine. We’ve seen it away in the distance, teasing us with a sense of “this is what you could have had”.

The CRO is one of a number of volunteer rescue teams throughout the country. Originally set up to help people in trouble in remote & generally inaccessible areas, they are increasingly being called out to incidents to bolster the abilities of the three main emergency services.

These rescue teams are funded entirely by charitable donations. Personally, I think those people who get themselves in trouble as a direct result of being ill-prepared should be billed for the full cost. Going further, there’s an argument for bringing charges of endangering life in some cases. However, accidents happen even to the best-prepared and rescue teams will always mobilise when called upon; a philosophy of “one day, it could be me” is one driver.

Anyway, rant over. Sorry ’bout that!

The bottom line is we are asking for sponsorship, either in person or at JustGiving.  Thanks!

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Cheesy Music and Hiccups

So, the invitations have been sent out and the RSVPs are beginning to come back.  There’s an unspoken understanding between us that…

  1. neither of us rush to pick up the mail too quickly when we get in from work; &
  2. we each open half the replies that arrive back each day.

There was an unexpected hiccup at the Rendezvous Hotel.  We made a block booking of rooms for people staying over.  However, the hotel changed their computer system after I made the booking and now the reference number I put on the information sheet that’s gone out with the invites is useless.  I’ll admit I gave them a bit of a hard time over that.

There’s an empty wedding list setup with House of Fraser.  We can’t add anything to it until 3 months before.  We moved in together over a year ago so many of the things traditionally bought as a wedding gift, we already have two of.  However, there are a few items we would like to replace.

As an alternative, we’ve setup up a JustGiving page to raise charitable donations for Mountain Rescue England & Wales.

I did some digging on popular first dance songs and got too long a list far too quickly so I’m in the middle of culling the non-starters.  I’ve made Vicky weep a couple of times when she’s heard a few of my first-cut choices.  Nothing by Aerosmith, Shania Twain or Bryan Adams made that cut.  Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re talented artists with some very powerful, emotive songs and I don’t mind them being played at the wedding; they’re just not going to be the first dance.

I’ve had a brand new, wing-collar shirt altered so that I don’t look like a short-armed gorilla on the day.

We’re getting there but I’ve still got a To-Do list as long as your arm.  At the moment, for every item I cross off, I seem to add at least two more.  I’m looking forward to the day when it starts to shrink again.

Rescue Emergency Care

There’s no getting away from the fact that we take part in a dangerous hobby.  The participation statement on my BMC membership card reads…

“The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”

I’ve been in a situation where someone took a nasty fall and we had to call out mountain rescue.  Now, when I see a collection box for any of the mountain rescue teams, I ALWAYS put a pound coin in it.  I think of it as an investment in the future; an insurance policy I hope I never have to claim on.

As an amateur (unpaid) mountain leader, I don’t have a legal duty of care.  Once briefed on the expected conditions, people should be able to look after themselves and speak up if they’re unhappy at any point.  However, I think I have a moral obligation to care for party members to the best of my abilities and that includes if someone takes ill or injures themselves.

Time and again, I’d put off enrolling in a Rescue Emergency Care course.  That was until a friend needed to renew his certificate in order to go for his Mountain Instructor assessment.  Essentially, it’s the equivalent of a First Aid at Work course but focuses on typical incidents that happen in the mountains.  The practicals are held outdoors to give an element of realism.  It was chucking it down on day 2 of our course so we did the role play in amongst the trees.  They offered some protection from the weather but it was still pretty miserable.  Outside of a real incident, I don’t think we could have had a more realistic scenario.

The end result is that I feel much more prepared should something unfortunate happen.  Fingers crossed I never have to put what I’ve learnt into practice.

Many thanks to Andy from Medicymru for making it so much less unpleasant than I thought it would be.  Some of the photos were fairly grusome.

Mountain Rescue – the real 4th emergency service

RAF Rescue

We were scrambling on the north face of Tryfan when we heard what I thought was a motorbike with a blown exhaust on the road below but then this rescue helicopter from the RAF came around the corner and started circling off to our right and hovering above us out of sight. Thinking it was just an exercise, we carried on upwards. We didn’t realise we were heading for a full on rescue in progress. We found out later that a fellow scrambler had slipped and sustained a nasty head wound. It had been raining that morning and the rock was wet and more than a little greesy.

It seems that while the chopper was hovering, it was also winching the local mountain rescue team down to the scene. Unfortunately, we were following much the same route as the casualty and found ourselves unwilling onlookers. With the chopper returning to the scene, we feared the downdraft would blow us off our feet and so took the opportunity to rest and put away anything that could be blown away. It was at that point that I took the above photo and footage. As you can see, the chopper didn’t come as close as it could have so we were able to continue.

However, the incident did shake our confidence a little and the rest of the day was spent being a lot more careful than we would’ve perhaps been otherwise. It was definitely a good learning experience.

Please support your local mountain rescue team.