Mountain Rescue England and Wales Annual National Party Leaders Course 2011

We are proud to announce once again that senior and very experienced Bolton MRT team member Mike Marsh has had the honour of organising and co-ordinating the Mountain Rescue England and Wales Annual National Party Leader’s Course, held over the course of this weekend, commencing on Friday evening 15th July and finishing mid this afternoon. Mike has been associated with this course, and its predecessor, the MPSRO Regional Party Leader’s Course, for a number of years, and has developed from an instructor to full organiser. Also involved in the set up of the course were Bolton Mountain Rescue Team members, Paul Brain and Elaine Gilliland.

This year’s event, run for the third year at the excellent location of Hebden Hey Scout Campsite, Hebden Bridge, in the Calder Valley SRT area of the South Pennines, aims to fully equip Mountain Rescue team members (Who have a minimum of two year’s Mountain Rescue experience) with the requisite skills to lead Mountain Rescue parties on operations.

The course always receives very favourable comments from those who participate, with 29 MRT delegates this year attending from Scotland, Wales and England. (Including Bolton MRT team member Stephen Kenworthy) In addition to the delegates, 12 instructors and mentors attended from Swaledale MRT, Llanberis MRT, North East Wales SRT, Penrith MRT, Calder Valley SRT, and Brecon MRT, so a truly national course entailed.

On Friday evening, after a substantial buffet, delegates were given an overview of the weekend with an introduction to instructors, mentors and delegates and then two lectures on the expectations of the police and the importance of giving structured briefings to teams. After full briefings, all attendees retired to socialise in the normal MR manner of good conversation and a few ‘bevvies’.

Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast provided by Bolton MRT Support Group Members, Howard and Teresa Gilliland and Pete and Clare Whitney, the heavens opened……and continued to spill forth for the rest of the weekend……and lectures on 5 man parties, 5 common injuries and casualty site management were given to half of the participants while the other half ventured outside to undertake practical party leader management and leading a stretcher party. After a quick refreshment break the groups swapped so all parties were fully informed.

Saturday afternoon encompassed further lectures on action and preserving an incident scene and water bankside safety and then further ’round-robin’ exercises where all participants were given the opportunity to utilise their learning as party leaders.

Saturday evening entailed further lectures on triage, and post traumatic stress – with all participants now fully informed of the skills required for party leadership. The rest of Saturday evening was left open for delegates to ‘network and socialise’.

Sunday – practice, practice, practice. Realistic casualty sites gave each individual the ability to practice not only the skills they had learned throughout the weekend, but experience from team training. Every participant had the chance to apply all areas of skills required on the hill including specific party leader skills, constructive feedback being continually provided by very experienced mentors throughout the exercises. (Our team supplied two ’Exercise Casualties’ for this part of the weekend course in the guise of Martin Banks and John Fletcher)

A course debrief and feedback session was undertaken on Sunday afternoon, with delegates given the opportunity to review the Party Leaders Guidelines and to feedback on the course as a whole. All comments provided were constructive and give positive feedback for future party leader’s courses.