MRC Party Leaders Course

Once again 2 senior members of the Bolton Team, Mike Marsh and Ann Shaw, acted as instructors on the MRC National Party Leaders Course; another long serving Bolton Team member Chris Moody also attended this year in a formal training capacity. Organised by Peter Smith, currently MRC secretary, other instructors included the Team Leaders of Penrith and NEWSAR Teams and senior members of Llanberis Team. Great assistance was provided once again by serving members of the local Calder Valley Team in whose area it was held. Ann Shaw’s account of the weekend follows –

The course was held over the weekend of the Fri 2rd-Sun 4th July in the pleasant venue of Rishworth School in Ripponden, Yorkshire. This venue provided a central UK location for members of MR Teams from as far afield as Dartmoor and Tayside including 2 members of a RAF MRT. Attendees had served anything between 3 to 9 years in their respective Teams. The weekend was extremely intensive (only complaint at the end was that there was no time for a cup of tea on Saturday pm!!) and consisted of lectures on such topics as the typical structure and organisation of a fell party, how to brief a fell party, how to lead it effectively and how to deal with the scene of a fatality. Instruction also covered triage practice and the 5 most common injuries likely to be encountered by MR members. Responsibilities of a party leader, types of leadership and the psychological care of members affected by stressful situations were also covered in some depth.

Everything taught in the class room was then put into practice out in the surrounding woodland and moorlands in a series of round robin mini exercises dealing with volunteer casualties. These brave souls had to put up with appalling weather conditions on the Sunday which included a hail storm at one point and necessitated the deployment of proper foul weather protection for the ’casualties’. At one point our colleagues from the West Yorkshire Air Ambulance dropped in to add bit of reality to the scenario.

At the end of the weekend all those attending agreed that they had gained a great deal of effective training both theoretical and practical, which they would be able to use within their very different team areas.