DofE 17: Dark Peak.

18°C, grey with slight drizzle.

17.0: a day filled with logistics. Google’s satnav took us round the long way to Edale. Then I had to ferry kids from Hope because the coach driver refused to drive to the carpark in Edale. We’re all baffled by his refusal since there are 2 other coaches already there.

17.2: Tuesday – a 15h30m shift on Kinder Scout. Rain and very late groups. 1 group made such a mess of nav that they didn’t get onto the hill and were found in the afternoon – back at the start.

17.3: crossing Ladybower. To a lovely little campsite at North Lees near Hathersage.

Much better day for all groups. They’re getting tired as usual. The overnight camp was basic to say the least. In my opinion, we should stay in the area, within radio range anyway. That way we can get there early and urge them away by 07.30. Their night’s sleep wasn’t enough after Kinder.

I was a little worried about one of my group’s confidence and navigation so I decided to walk halfway with them. It was here that I hit on the idea of a neat nav teaching method. I’ll explain…

If your group has a few navigators and the others trail along, then this might demonstrate how information and observations should flow through an effective group. Sit one kid down with a map; preferably in a hollow so they can’t see much. Others can then take turns giving them information until they can locate the group. Here is a field boundary, this way slopes down, that way is north etc.

I’ve only tried it a few times, but it does seem to work!

17.3: along Stannage Edge. A good geological handrail. After the road crossing, they go up Moscar Moor. It’s a fine place to set up a checkpoint I found. I sat in a hollow the bits where it rained but eventually, the groups brought the sunshine. Some got stoves out and cooked lunch. Others wanted to march through and get back first.

We finished ontime with all groups safely completed. Then logistical problems started. The coach was late again. Part of the M1 was closed, but then again- why did it go on the motorway? Nobody knew.

I was able to get off with my Year 11s easily enough in the minibus. The coach didn’t get the Y10s to school until about 9pm. Outrageous! The staff were livid. That’s the third time the same coach company let us down in a fortnight.

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