I have spent several nights in a tent already this year but this was to be my first time out in the forest, alone and under a basha rather than in a tent.
I had found my bivi spot sooner than expected and with the Earth’s tilted axis spinning us towards the solstice and stretching the daylight hours, I had plenty of time to set up.
I slung my basha between two young beech trees. The spring growth of foliage was a vibrant green, accentuated by the low sun; the soft leaves without blemish. I had positioned myself between a couple of badger sets and spent hours, prone in my sleeping bag, alert for activity. But my alertness is obviously no match for that of the badgers. Or maybe it was the delicate aroma of my boil in the bag curry which kept them out of sight.
Anyway my Mr. Brock vigil was not a success, I didn’t see any badgers. But I do love nights out in the forest alone, listening to all the interesting sounds of largely unidentified nature. The more I learn, the more my ignorance taunts me.
I slept really well. All that oxygen is better than sleeping pills.
After breakfast and the usual morning rituals, a half hour walk got me to the venue, Alfriston Youth Hostel.
It is hard to believe that three years have passed since I did my Wilderness First Responder. It is an 86 hour course with a home paper. The two day refresher is an intensive 13 hours a day. I guess it is meant to put you under stress and see if you can handle complicated medical scenarios.
At the end of the day I wandered off and found an even better place to bivi, on the fringes of Friston forest.
The walk along the Cuckmere River for day two was lovely and only slightly marred by the realisation that this was assessment/exam day.
All went well and I got quite a good pass and a shiny new card for my wallet.
As always a very big thank you to Joe and Amy of Muir Walker Medics Co op for the excellent course.
And I mustn’t forget to mention the formidable acting skills of the people who took on the roles of casualties.