What a way to spend a birthday. True to the parsimonious – get the most out of our funding – Craggers ethos we decided not to waste money on accommodation for the previous night at the training venue. This meant that we had to get up stupidly early (for a birthday morning anyway) to catch the extremely slow bus to Exceat. From the bus it was a long walk to get to the Alfriston Youth Hostel for the course which was due to start at 9am.
The five of us were the majority of the students with the remainder made up of two teachers due to take a school group to Africa, a security guard who wants to move into body guarding abroad and a farmer who enjoys hill walking.
The certificated course was delivered very professionally by Joe from Muir-Walker Medics. There was a lot to fit into a two day course. All the Craggers members were first aiders, some with First Aid at Work qualifications but we all learnt a lot with the training being put in a wilderness context.
At the end of the long first day we repaired to the local pub to celebrate my birthday with a jug of Pimms and a review of the day. Then it was off to find a suitable bivouac spot on the Downs where we were entertained, during dinner, by a badger which ran through our camp and before we snuggled into our bivi bags we were treated to a spectacular sunset.
The second training session followed the pattern set the previous day with half of the course in the classroom and half taking place on the hill. The end of the afternoon was taken up with the exam which was based partly on what we had learned on the course with an element from the Wilderness First Aid manual which we had all been studying for the previous few weeks and yippee we all passed.
Attendees of the course are hoping to do an advanced Wilderness First Aid Course later in the year.