Private Expedition Training with Mike and Wayne
In the winter of 2016 I was contacted by a gentleman (Mike) who was enquiring about the possibility of some bespoke private training. Funnily enough, Mike had found us through the review of the Katadyn Gravity Camp Water Filter we wrote last year. You never know how things will work out…
After a brief conversation Mike explained that he and one or two others were interested in the idea of a week of navigation and expedition skills training with Original Outdoors, with a mix of woodland and mountain environments.
We discussed a few different ideas over the winter months and settled on a syllabus that included:
– map/compass navigation
– natural navigation
– route planning
– resource and logistics for expeditions
– campcraft in different environments
– emergency techniques
The venues for the course would be our basecamp in North Wales on the edge of the Vale of Clwyd and the Carneddau mountains in Northern Snowdonia.
Bespoke training courses are sometimes tricky to pull together. The client/s normally have a general sense of what they want to learn, but I always need to drill down into what the client’s vision is. Are they heading off on a trip to a specific place or environment? Do they need to perform certain tasks when they get there? Will they be able to resupply en-route or does everything need to be packed in? What about medical evacuation and calling for help?
The thing is – planning an expedition or trip for 3 days or 3 months is a similar process. It’s all a matter of scale and understanding the task. For courses like this I can only teach so many practical skills, the rest is all about decision making and having a strategy for dealing with the problems one is likely to encounter. So any bespoke expedition training has to cover as much about planning and contingency as it does about compass work and choosing a tent over a hammock and tarp.
A lot is down to personal preference too – and that cannot be taught, only experienced. The huge range of outdoor gear available these days means that there are nearly millions of combinations of gear one can choose from. Gas stove or meths? Stove or fire? Tarp and bivvy or tarp and hammock? Boots or trail shoes? I know experienced outdoors-people that would argue for hours over those combinations, and each one certain that they had the right idea.
So the week went along roughly as planned, with a minor change of plan to avoid some poor weather. I’ve pulled together some photos of the trip with Mike and Wayne, plus a short video showing what we got up to.
If you have your own idea for some private training or a trip then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.