Not just mad dogs and Englishmen evidently…22 stoic Cranleighans endured the midday sun last week across the open heathland of the New Forest, during their assessed Silver D of E expedition. Well, that’s not strictly true because the extreme temperatures meant that the students were to be congratulated on how diligently they heeded the warnings and took special precautions. Slathered in factor 50, carrying enough water to fill a small swimming pool and leaving camp at 7.00 am to avoid the hottest part of the day, the candidates paced themselves from check point to check point.
Having been briefed on the risks of heat exhaustion and dehydration, the way the students managed the conditions, and looking after each other, was exemplary. Despite the heat, and the usual sore feet and blisters, and not a lot of sleep being had on the first night due to a cow wandering through camp “bellowing” incessantly in the early hours (we think it had lost its calf), I’m confident everyone enjoyed and learnt from the experience, particularly the lesson about why it’s probably not a good idea to wash your Trangia in the chemical loo drain.
Welcome relief came on day three when the rope swing across the stream at Wooton Bridge provided a refreshing dip, before the final trudge to the ‘pick up point’ at Pickets Post. Thanks to all involved: to the candidates for the way in which they conducted themselves and to Miss Baily and Mr Money for all their help and support. Overall, a very successful expedition.