29.6.09

WEISS 2009

Vildmark and WEISS 2009.
Ah, Sweden my favourite course location. Tranquil lakes and majestic forests - no wonder even Ray Mears believes travelling the nature there to be close to a religious experience!
This year found us with a group of 34 eager students form one of Britains top public schools.
As well as a few of natures more amusing characters such as Malcolm the bushwacking squirrel and Woody the camp robber!
The courses themselves were great fun and generally weather blessed although a thunderstorm and a hailstorm did a lot to focus minds on the fact we werent out there simply playing!
Mornings were generally beautiful and with the lads all sleeping tranquil havens for the early riser!
The Vildmark course as always was a mix of skills and leasure time - as well as being a chance to "train up" the those needing a little extra dirt time ready for the WEISS!
Preben even took time out of his busy schedule to, aided by grandson Max, teach the students how to canoe and proform the airplane rescue - excellent to watch and impressive to see.
After a fun relaxing and highly educational week we turned up the heat (literally and weatherwise) and started the WEISS course!!
Working in pairs rather than individually we were very impressed to see ALL the students make fire in one of the oldest ways known to man. A great achievement in anybodies books even more so for 30 school boys who had never previously made fire by friction and a accolade to the excellent instructional skill and duty of care exhibited by Steve Wiggins, spent more than one mosi eaten night training the lads into the wee small hours!
The exercise phase saw the lads not only proving their survival and navigation skills but also testing their grit and determination with a grueling stretcher race and cas vac scenerio - showing great resourefulness they even built rafts to float the casualties to the final RV and potential rescue point.
As always once the signals were out and the teams had proved their survival skills and metal a rescue attempt was staged
While the teams "played" the old war horses swung the lantern
One of the beauties of Sweden in the good weather is the simplicity of campcraft - a sleeping bag and a bed of bushy lingon and your set for the night - a sweet bed, scented by nature herself and as comforting as a mothers embrace!
The WEISS course went well - the students were excellent - adapting to the nature with the ease of those who went before...........


Sadly, while a new high was set by the guys this year with the majority passing - we still had 7 poor souls who failed. Those who passed proudly recieved their badges knowing full well they earned the right to join that small, yet presdigious, group of outdoors folk who over the last 40 years have done the same.



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