I was asked by a local school to provide two days hill walking training on the Shropshire Hills for a group preparing for the bronze expedition over the Easter Weekend. A quick chat with the group leader and a plan was hatched.
Day 1 – Stiperstones Area
We met at the ‘The Bog’ Car park which used to be a small mining community. After quick introductions, the route for the day was to walk to Stapeley Hill via Grit Hill and then return to the car park via Shelve a distance of some 13 kilometres. I was keen to let the team make the decisions on navigation and although this did mean a false starts and have a to backtrack a few times they learnt a great deal about map reading.
We arrived at Stapely Hill around 13:00 and decided that it would be a good spot to have lunch and take the obligatory summit photograph. Our route back to the car park was difficult as a number of the footpaths were not that distinct on the ground and required a little bit of imagination to find them. However, I’m pleased to say that we did make it back and I had tired but very happy group at the end of the walk.
Day 2 – Long Mynd Area
We met up at Bridge and our theme for the day was to improve the accuracy of the navigation and it was here that I had a bright idea. I set a couple of objectives for the day, namely Adstone Hill and Pole Bank and let the team sort out the way to get there and then navigate there. This proved to be a great success and was almost guided around the route without looking at the map (which is harder than I thought it would be). Along the way we discussed emergency procedures, how to use a compass and how best to avoid the extremes of temperature.
This was a great two days on the hill and the team certainly passed my expectations with regard to map reading on the second day (learning point for me here) and I wish them well with their expedition later in the year.