After a quick briefing and a fish and chip supper down at the OEC, the latest cohort of Gold candidates were ferried up to Blackheath last Saturday night to set off into the “Blair Witch” darkness of Hurtwood Control.

The objective was to navigate round a series of electronic controls to practise the skills of micro-navigation (bearings, pacing, using a compass Romer……). This was done in the dark so that should (or rather when) the Welsh hill fog and clagg descend on their expeditions later in the year they will have the confidence to find their way in low visibility.

As ever this was a fun evening, helped by a bright moon and a break in the weather. It was lovely walking, with a torch only needed for map-reading, resulting in the impression of fireflies having been scattered over the heath as lights flicked on and off. The free-draining sand of Blackheath kept things dry underfoot and most of the pairs found some of the controls points, before the cut off time and the short drive back to School.

Well done to all the participants for turning out after a long day at the end of a tough week. Thanks as ever to Mrs Young for checking everyone in and out and Miss Baily for helping out on the courseĀ as well as, most importantly, collecting the all-important fish and chips.

Dr Simon Young
Head of Outdoor Education