DofE 10.0: Edale.

Or “I need to use the trowel”

16°C, cloudless and still.

Arrived in Edale for a Gold Practice expedition. I’ve been here a few times before with QM School. Sunset is late so putting up the tent was easy. This should be fun as long as the group I get works well. At least I know the terrain.

10.1: dawn was chilly, only 9°C inside. The temperature built rapidly through hte morning. Tops were about 25°C, but it felt far hotter in direct sun. The sun is burning and dry.

Introduced to my group in Castleton car park. After the usual bag adjustments and weigh in, we set off. They immediately went the wrong way down the high street. This is a problem when dumped in a car-park after a log drive, it’s disorientating. Then we set off with the group in front. Eventually, another mistake led us to a farm which was stopped by a labourer. Secondly, as we back tracked, a woman approached who seemed quite exasperated. They get this all the time. If I get time, I will go back and figure out what went wrong.

The rest of the day was a struggle against the heat. It scorched our skin and drwgged in our throats. That was why we decided to descend on a shortened route. Oh, and one of the girls was feeling ill. At the lunch stop, she mentioned that she needed a poo. I took the opportunity to explain where and when and a bit about the use of a trowel. I bought it originally because it has a funny name:”iPood!”.

We took a break after Lord’s Seat and took votes on the remaining route. Eventually, an uncomfortable looking girl asked for my trowel and went off with it behind a wall.

10.2: Kinder Scout: load up the pack with 7.5 litres of water and head up onto the Kinder plateau. My group have a long day in the heat. Much longer than yesterday but at least the wind is stronger to cool us down. I walked for 4 hours without a stop before I found them. They were sitting, contentedly at the furthest west point of their trip. I had walked about 12km to find them. Okay, so I did stop for a few photos and a search with the binoculars.

So far so good. They were all in good spirits but thirsty. The 5 litre tank was enough, it left 2 litres for me. The plan was to then go south east to a spring to collect more for filtering. There was not a drop anywhere, not on the plateau, nor on the gulleys. I’ve never seen Kinder like this. The streams were sandy trails, bone dry.

Eventually, I met up with another instructor who had plenty left in his talk. I was despitately thirsty by then. 3 hours without water in this heat. The sun remained fierce, not a cloud all day.

Padding along the farmland the girls pointed out a sheep stuck in a wire fence. One of the breed which have coiled up helix horns. She had her left horn caught in the bottom wire, probably while reaching for the best grass shoots. So without thinking, I took off my pack and crouched down. She didn’t panic but I was worried because the horn was snarp and her neck strong. Eventuall, pushing the wire and pulling the horn did it. She didn’t seem to realise at first but then she backed out to the relief of two lambs with her. My good deed for the day.

A very satisfying day, especially once I’d quenched my raging thirst.

10.3. Cooler start with some clouds.

My group have a funny figure-8 route but it’s easy to checkpoint. On close inspection, it’s looks fine. I met them four times over the 9 hour walk. The last one, they were so tired, some tears in fact. They were lovely on debriefing which included our goodbyes. I gave them baby-belle cheese rounds. That choice came up because they agreed that they took toomuch sweet food. Some were stuck for choice of suitable savoury food. I will look into this so I can give a better answer next time. They liked the mushroom pate I had in a tube.

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