Cold we are used to (in fact I can think of several years in which the Silver Expedition has been significantly colder overnight), but snow was something of a novelty and it must be admitted that the icy gale blowing straight off Siberia did little to make things any more clement. Nonetheless, everyone coped admirably with only minimal moaning and the vast majority of participants displayed considerable fortitude despite the testing conditions.
For Silver the participants are required to walk for three days and camp out for two nights. As this was their practice expedition we were able to give quite a bit of help with the navigation, but as it turned out this was not much needed as the conditions tended to focus the mind somewhat and ensured that the groups did not hang around admiring the brief glimpses of the vistas we had promised them, during the stray breaks in the driving flurries of snow. From a camp craft point of view cold fingers meant that perhaps a little more help than usual was offered, but lots of lessons were learnt and the groups were generally very efficient. All in all, the necessary boxes were ticked and many lessons learnt in a testing environment.
Well done to all the participants for coping in such bitter weather and thanks to the Gold volunteers, GGB, SDT, RSG, STP, GLG, TGL and MFH who helped supervise groups and make things run safely and smoothly.
Fingers crossed for better weather in the New Forest this summer.
SAHY, Head of Outdoor Education