The Peak Mountaineering Month - July 2015

11th Aug 2015

The Peak Mountaineering July started with Paul migrating south to Bath for the annual Bike Bath cycling sportive.  This well established event is the brainchild of his friend Richard and, although a rather unique feature of his annual work, he loves being involved.  The event attracts over 1000 riders and his role as a safety manager involves route marking before the event and then safety management on the day itself.  The sportive attracts numerous sponsors and Paul was happy that again Bath's Westway BMW were happy to supply a selection of vehicles for the management team to use.  The X6 made a welcome change from one of the Peak Mountaineering VW Caddy's, he told me! The event was another great success and, apart from a rider with a fractured collar bone to manage, Paul's first aid skills weren't called upon too much.
Of course, while that particular cat was away, our regular Peak District mice carried on playing with some nice weather and fun teams to deliver too.  My role for these events, once the backstage organisation is complete, is to meet and greet the participants and deliver equipment to our instructors.  After that my day is free and I usually head out for some climbing or biking with the Peak Mountaineering sponsored team (AKA our boys Ben and Tom) or other friends.  I have also recently been visiting venues to see a few groups in action and take some photos and video footage for an upcoming promotional film we are putting together.
Paul arrived back from Bath in time to take one of our mid week NNAS navigation course groups out.  The midweek courses, while not as busy as our weekend options, are Paul's favourite to deliver.  The Peak District is far quieter on weekdays and this group, during days in the Derwent Valley and then on Kinder Scout, only saw a couple of people.  As usual the successful Bronze level candidates were buzzing after their course because giving people navigation skills opens up a whole new world of opportunities for them.  
As usual, one of the best indicators of the quality of our courses is the feedback.  This is a sample of a recent navigation course review on Trip Advisor......
So I was enrolled onto the Navigation Course (NNAS Bronze) as a birthday gift by my better half, something about I need to be prepared should her eyesight go or if there is a Zombie apocalypse or the like. This was clearly a nice surprise and was received with projected excitement bearing in mind pending annual leave breaks trekking various hills and mountain terrains in Europe.  Being around people who like to use a map properly and use various skills (such as bearings, back bearing, striking off, pacing and trying to understand the landscape) the course was a confirmation of some of the loose skills I had picked up and encouraged / forced you in certain situations to use your own initiative. That aside if you also struggle to navigate out of your front door and to work I'm sure this course can adapt to your level of knowledge to, our group were lucky!  The course is structured around the use of the UK style OS Maps of differing scales, a compass and your eyes (remember to take good walking boots, water and a packed lunched too). There is a tutor (in our case Richard) who appeared to be a professional and competent person during our time together and I found him to be approachable and diligent. Richard was keen to assess our existing skills and refine them and inevitably teach us (a group) new ways of using the maps and various bits of kit, and then ask us to essentially drop off the side of a hill with no path in sight, so I can confirm ‘Action Packed’ as a true representation of the course.  All in all I would say that this was worth every penny that was paid for it, believe me I checked and now know how much my other half spent on my birthday. Additionally, not that we knew but Richard also assessed for the NNAS bit and to the groups surprise received a certificate which will sit proudly next to my cycling proficiency award and my 5 meter swimming badge.  I would like to say a massive thanks to Peak Mountaineering, Richard (the Paramedic) and I suppose the rest of the group, I would use Peak Mountaineering again hopefully to do my silver award.
We have a number of other mid week courses over the summer incase you are also keen for a quieter training experience.
 A steadily increasing part of our business involves taking group sessions.  Sometimes these are stag or hen parties, sometimes they are social groups and sometimes we deliver various training sessions for clubs. This month we've welcomed back two longstanding groups that we've been privileged to work with for several years.  
Firstly, the social group from the government Health & Safety Laboratory joined us for their annual climbing event.  We vary locations, but this year the good weather prompted us to take them to Windgather Rocks which is a perfect beginners crag.  Despite several of them being completely new to climbing, they put in a brilliant performance (including several ascents of the classic Windgather test piece Portfolio).  
Later in the month we also worked with members from Leeds Climbing Club who spent various days with us learning advanced climbing and navigation skills.  Delivering to a group like this can be a surprisingly cost effective training option so please do contact us if you have a group that need either training or fun sessions.
Alongside that we helped Becky with the organisation of her adventure themed hen party.  We arranged two days of climbing, mountain biking and abseiling plus we helped the group find a luxury Peak District hotel for the Saturday evening.  The activities were just what Becky wanted but her friends insistence that she wear a ballet dancers outfit for the weekend possibly wasn't (Becky works as a ballet teacher incase you are wondering about the connection).  Our best wishes to Becky and Alex for their upcoming wedding.
As I write this Paul is away in sunnier climes as he is leading a group ascending Jebel MGoun in Morocco.  Although Paul has visited Morocco many times this is still a new mountain for him.  Needless to say he was more than a bit excited to be covering new ground.  I have received the news that all the team summited successfully and he will be back next week for a bit of family time.  
As we look ahead it will soon be time for our Stok Kangri teams to head to India and we also have the continuing Peak District program along with several scrambling and multi pitch climbing courses running in Snowdonia.  Much further down the line we have already had more bookings than ever for next winter's courses and it is great to see that, even in the middle of the British summer, people are already looking forward to snowier adventures.
Posted by Cal