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Full Moon and a Space Station

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Thursday 17th April 2014 at 1:41 pm by Steve

Climbing at the Dewerstone

Fine weather over Down Tor

A late evening sky over Leather Tor

Our SPA training course last weekend was blessed with some fantastic sunshine. We even managed to have a warm day up at Sheepstor on Saturday. As nice as Sheepstor is as a venue it is usually open to the elements and is therefore normally an exposed place to be. On the Sunday we had another sunny day down at the Dewerstone and even finished the day with our first ice cream of the year back at the car park.

On Monday we ran our first Hill and Moorland Leader Training Course and again we spent another three days walking in sunshine. At times though, there was a keen south easterly breeze that dropped the temperature a little. It was still pleasant walking even with an extra layer. Tuesday night was a great night to be out as we embarked on the night navigation. A stunningly clear sky and a full moon meant that it did not get dark until late. The full moon did however make it seem as though we did not need to walk with a headtorch an the nearby tors were impressively silhoutted . We even spotted the International Space Station flying overhead early in the evening. It was a fantistice bright dot travelling that we saw disappear beyond Down Tor. Not sure if its occupants could see us!!! I did wave just in case.

Hopefully this spell of fine weather will hold but I it does look as though it might change before the weekend is out. Looking forward to a few days off, as we will be very busy again in a few weeks with our Young Spirit trips.

Can't believe we are already mid way through April. Easter this weekend, so I guess it wont be that long before we see Christamas Cards back in the shops!!!!!! 

First Hill and Mountain Leader course

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Friday 11th April 2014 at 4:05 pm by Steve

We have a busy weekend ahead with an SPA training course, a climb day and a DoE silver training exped. I am out and about running the SPA with John whilst Sam and Mike are working on the other two activities. 

This week has mostly seen me working in the office but I did manage to go out and run a family rock day on Thursday. It was a for a dad and his two sons. A full day we had which included a rock scramble with a climb, a lower down a rockface and then a climbing session. To finish the day they all abseiled off a bridge. Not sure about them but I was tired just running the day!! Well done boys for a god day out.

Sam has been out this week with a student from the Thomas Hardy School in Dorchester who was looking for an intensive 3 days of climbing tuition. This was for the course that he was enlisted on. Think they have struck it lucky with weather although there has still been a chilly bite the breeze at times. John has gone to Bovey Castle this afternoon to run a rafting session for their Bovey Rangers. It is still going to be a busy afternoon ahead as we then sort all the kit from the weeks work and prepare for the week ahead. 

Next week we will be running our first Mountain Training (MT), Hill and Morland Leader training course. This is to replace the Walking Group Leader. Exciting changes within Mountain Training and for our new MT courses that we can  now deliver.

Quick Update

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Monday 7th April 2014 at 12:35 pm by Steve

I was just in the process of leaving my cosy office to continue with last nights search and I received the team stand down. Sounds like it has all ended well and I am sure I will find out the facts later. The main thing is that the missing team are safe.

Kettle on then!!! Still places available on our MLT Hills skills course 26th and 27th April.

Late Night and lots of water

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Monday 7th April 2014 at 11:58 am by Steve

West Dart flowing well under Two Bridges

Found myself on an unexpected walk during last night and into the early hours. It was a callout with the rescue team to help locate an overdue Gold DoE team. We were tasked to search the Stall Moor area of the Yealm. It was certainly a foul night, with the rain and fog making visibility virtually nil in the dark. The conditions underfoot were very wet to say the least, with the little streams and brooks in full flow. The team was not located and it looks like we will be out again today.

On my way to work this morning the West Dart was flowing well under the bridge at Two Bridges. Stopped to take a quick picture. Within the last week or so we have gone from sunshine to snow to heavy rain. Never a dull moment as far as the weather is concerend up here on the moor. 

Another curiosity

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Thursday 3rd April 2014 at 12:57 pm by Steve

Cocker Spaniel ?

Earlier today someone told me about a Cocker Spaniels head stuck to a tree. Being the curious type of fellow that I am I had to investigate. With thoughts that I would be involving animal welfare charities and groups I went to have a look. Ahh, it was just another Dartmoor curiosity. Surely there is a story to made of it!!!!!!

Once upon a time there was a Cocker Spaniel who enjoyed.....well I will let you finish.

Just make sure its not another Shaggy Dog story!!!!!!!!!

A Week of Firsts

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Thursday 3rd April 2014 at 9:21 am by Steve

Rock Scrambling on the Dewerstone

Walking off from Hamel Down

Spot the Adder

The lucky Lizard

Must be Ducks Pool then!!!

It has certainly has been a busy week so far here at Powdermills. Over last weekend I had a busy time working with an NCS group through Weymouth College. They had a  full schedule of activities and challenges. A night navigation on Friday, rock scrambling, climbing,  gorge walking and tasks on Saturday with an abseil and a team final challenge on Sunday. They were a great group to work with which made for an excellent weekend. The weather was kind despite a slight chilly bite to the wind.

This week I am working on the Clayesmore Gold DoE training expedition. The groups were met on Monday afternoon and walked to Powdermills a distance of about 10km. Tuesday we were dropped off by bus and walked back via different routes to Powdermills, this time a distance of about 16km. Yesterday we were remote supervising the teams as they stared a three day exped over the south moor. My group were traversing the South moor from east to west. The best vantage point for me to supervise them from was around the Ducks Pool area of the moor. With just Paddy for company it seemed to take forever in the fog to finally locate them near Red Lake Ford. It was a longer walk then I had anticipated, think it was about 17km in total. Paddy didn't want to move out of his basket this morning, (light weight!!!). I will be out again soon to check on the groups as they move around the south moor. Its a little bit damp today but not as foggy as yesterday over the tops.

This blog is entitled a week of firsts, as from a wildlife point of view that is what it has been like. On Monday whilst walking through Soussons Wood we came across two adders basking in the afternon sun. After a bit of patience they kept returning to the same spot so I did manage to get a couple of pictures. These were my first addesr of the year. At the same spot within a few inches a lizard was also enjoying the sun, probably unaware what was lurking so close. Yesterday whilst out walking I spotted my first wheatears and even a couple of swallows around the Nuns Cross area of the moor. Hopefully within the next few weeks we should start hearing the first cuckoos of the year. Spring is certainly on its way up here on the moor.

Whilst on a wildlife theme thought I would share this picture from Ducks Pool. Two families of rubber ducks are now by the looks of it resident there. Bought a bit of light humour to what was a damp and dreary day. There used to be similar oddity out near the pond at Flat Tor. Can anyone remember the Fishing Gnome that sat on a plinth out there? Unfortunately he is long gone, but he was always worth a visit!!!   

Winter returns

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Thursday 27th March 2014 at 9:21 am by Steve

Winter returns

Just a quick post to share this mornings scene up here at Powdermills. It has certainly turned wintry with a good layer of snow around. It is a far cry from the sunny weather a fortnight ago. Joys of working on the high moor, its what makes it interesting!!!!! 

New course and a new venue

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Friday 21st March 2014 at 2:27 pm by Steve

Hill Skills

On the 26th and 27th April we will be running one of the new Mountain Training Hill Skills courses. This will be the first time this new award has been run by us here at Spirit of Adventure. The new award is for those wishing to learn and develop existing hill walking skills and is very much a personal award and not a leadership award. It is also open to those 14yrs old and above, which gives hill walkers under the age of 18 a chance to get recognition for their skills. It is an ideal platform to move onto other Mountain Training leadership awards at a later stage.

For the first course we will be operating from a new and exciting venue. Kountry Kit in Tavistock is having a meeting and classroom available within its shop. This means that it will be an easy venue to get to and there will be all the local facilities on hand in Tavistock.

If you are interseted then please contact us here at Spirit of Adventure for more information. 

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