Bolivia Training Weekend 4

Friday 13th January to Sunday 15th
Chloe (venturer)

We arrived at Lindean Hall at 9am, and got straight in to activities. Ian the paramedic kindly came in to show us how to do some basic first aid to benefit us for future training weekends and our expedition. Poor Cammy was used as the dummy for every tutorial, but got on with it none the less. We went over CPR, bandages, splints and little did we know it would come to be used later in the training weekend…

We were then joined by Jim MacPherson, who helped us make route cards and reminded us how to properly map read for the walk ahead. Everyone was split into two groups, both going the same route but one clockwise and one anti-clockwise. We set off for the walk and although it was very VERY snowy and icy, it was a beautiful day. There were good laughs throughout the whole walk and everyone’s spirits were high, but nothing bet the view of the sunset from the top of the Three Brethren, simply breath-taking. We powered back to the hall (with an unplanned detour), Graham and I got so excited for our hot cuppa that we sprinted right up the hill and into the hall – to be greeted by the other group who’d also made it back very quickly.

Now everyone’s favourite part of the night.. FOOD!

Pam had us all make a sandwich and sit at the table but with true table manners, we couldn’t eat until everyone was ready, but one person was missing… We waited and waited and David was a no show. Our food was sitting right in front of us for what felt like forever but in burst David WITH CHIPS!!! Fair to say he got a massive standing ovation.

The entertainment of the night consisted of the classic games – ‘wink murder’ and ‘heads down thumbs up’. The moment I triple – crossed Jim in heads down thumbs up, was one of the funniest moments of my life. I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me… sorry Jim!

Day 2 of the training weekend and we went out on a little stroll to stretch off after the big walk the day before. As we walked by a field, we noticed a man and woman on the ground, distressed, by a tree. The woman was shouting for help so the whole team headed over. We instantly split into two groups and my group was taking care of the lady. We went through all the procedures that Ian taught us the day before and it was a success. We even made a stretcher out of poles and jackets! I’m sure it was just a coincidence that the distressed man had a BEG Zambia jumper on…

After our emergency situation, we headed back to the hall to learn some Spanish from Paul and Patricia, who were lovely and excellent at teaching. We also got an insight into what we’d be doing in Bolivia, which made the expedition seem even closer for everyone.

The day powered on and in what felt like no time at all, it was time for our parents to come for the meeting. Information, do’s and dont’s for Bolivia and a reminder about our jags (ahhhhh).

After a reasonably quick meeting it was time to go home. Yet another exciting and hilarious training weekend over, spent with the best people and each time we seem to grow even closer.

And from a leader’s point of view (Jane B)

Saturday morning – leaders were up at 6.am, did a 5 mile run and had a bathe in the Tweed –just kidding – we actually had a more gentle start to the day than previous training weekends but were all ready by 9am for the arrival of the rest of the group and keen to get started on training weekend 4. In reality, our weekend had started the previous evening with leaders and training team only where Nancy took us through some leadership training. We discussed different types of leaders and had a chance to think about the kind of leaders each of us are, and talked about the analogy of ‘filling other people’s buckets’ a good way of visualizing thoughtfulness. Our buckets were then filled by a delicious tea prepared by Rosie and Nancy. A meeting after, to share the weekend plans and update on Bolivia plans, led us to sleep time.

So, back to Saturday morning and the start of a weekend that felt like very real training for Bolivia right down to the cold, crisp, sunny weather. First off was First Aid delivered brilliantly by Ian, a paramedic. We blew up dummies, secured our fellow leaders and venturers wounded limbs – imaginary of course – and tried to master the art of triangular bandage. Hmmm, triangular bandages and I have met before and didn’t get on very well then; this time we were no more compatible although Graham was a very good sport and didn’t object to my confused fumbling with his arms!
Around midday, we all had a few photos taken for the Southern Reporter and after that we were straight into route planning in preparation for the afternoon activities. We were divided in two with Mairi leader of the one group and Cammy leader of the other. Jim McPherson guided us through the procedures and then we were let loose with a map and part filled route card. Thankfully we had John, who along with Eilidh and Joseph quickly completed the missing information. Then it was a quick lunch, boots on and out into the beautiful blue sky day. The plan was a circular route to take in the Three Brethren, one group going clockwise tackling the hill from the south side and the other anti-clockwise, taking it from north-east. Cammy’s group, of which I was part, took the anti-clockwise route setting out at a fair pace along the River Tweed. We were accompanied by Nancy and Les, and originally Jim but he quickly disappeared to check on the other group, not reappearing until we were slip-sliding down the other side. He then appeared first as a bobbing hat covered head, slowly followed by shoulders, body and legs charging down the hill trying to catch up with us. We were motoring! The top was too good not to mention, snow covered ground with a well-trodden packed snow path up to the iconic three cairns of the Three Brethren, and the sun beginning to set. As we passed the clockwise group striding for the top, the deep snow off the sides of the path proved impossible to ignore by the certain members of the group and those said members ended up more than a little snowy!
We were all back at the hall by around 6.30 and ready for food. Sandwiches and soup were on the menu but after a good long walk in the snow we were glad when David offered to go and fetch chips. After dinner, the evening entertainment began and after a couple of different challenges, which involved pairs trying to untangle themselves from string and balancing nails on a wooden block we put our heads on the table to play ‘heads down, thumbs up’. There was an element of calmness emitted as we played but it was punctuated with raucous laughter and giggling as certain people failed to guess the correct thumb presser! Well fed, watered and entertained, we were all in bed with lights off by 10.00.

After Sunday morning breakfast, everyone got ready to head out for a brisk walk along the riverside. Funnily enough, they came across some casualties lying injured so it was very lucky that we’d had first aid training the day before. After a short break we were straight into a Spanish lesson with Pati and Paul. They took us through some basic survival language and gave us a few grammatical rules making it sound so simple. Their enthusiasm and sounds of encouragement were much appreciated as they got us mingling in search of hypothetical ingredients for a traditional Bolivian dish. All in all I had a great time, I really enjoyed trying to pronounce words correctly and came away enthused about learning more.

The training weekend ended with a whole group meeting, highs and lows, followed by a meeting for parents. The plans are really coming together now and it was great to be able to share them with everyone. By midafternoon, tired but happy, we cleared up the hall and headed back to our homes. Another brilliant weekend! Not long until the next one……

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