Evening exercise at Giants Seat Scout and Community Campsite, Outwood, Radcliffe

This damp and initially drizzly evening, saw our routine Wednesday evening exercise take place at Giants Seat Scout and Community Campsite, Outwood, Radcliffe.

Consisting of some 50 acres of mature woodland, steep slopes and open pasture, this location gave us some fantastic settings for this evenings multiple scenarios.

A site visit to plan the evening took place on Sunday 22nd February, and we are very grateful to Ann Chapman, Campsite Manager, who was so helpful on Sunday and did much to enable the success of this evening.

Upon arrival, team members were grouped in to four person parties, and then commencing at 19.50hrs, sent out to a number of skill stations, all under the direction of our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh, ably assisted by Chris Tennant (Radio ‘DJ’ C10 transmitting on 853 for the evening !) operating out of our Incident Control Vehicle.

Each skill station had a tasking to undertake upon arrival, and was overseen in most cases not by an experienced team member but by our brand new Trainee Team members.

The twist was there was no instruction as such, just a task to do if ‘you’ had the knowledge to do it!

Tasks / skills included;

  • Fitting the all terrain travel wheel and frame to our SAR Alpine Lite Mountain Rescue Stretcher, and rigging the same for a horizontal stretcher lift with the ‘SAR Easy Rider’ winch straps(Trainee Team member Carole Truman present in charge)
  • Abseiling using self protection devices or a french prussik knot, down a very steep and very muddy slope (Trainee Team member Rasti Schweizer and Training Officer Alistair Greenough making sure everything and everyone was safe)
  • ‘What’s in your rucksac,’ do you have a whistle, casualty shelter, in date soluble aspirin, first aid kit, bottle of water ? overseen by Trainee Team member Matthew “I don’t care how muddy the ground is, empty out your rucksac” Morris.
  • Knots, for the use of! overseen by Trainee Team member Neil Haigh, at which a Figure of Eight, rethreaded Figure of Eight, Bowline, Alpine Butterfly, Clove Hitch and Italian Hitch had to be demonstrated. By some miracle – by his own admission, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE (yes unbelievably he was out on the exercise in the mud and drizzle) managed to produce a perfect Alpine Butterfly at the very first attempt, but despite having 35 years in mountain rescue, and despite being a Queens Scout, and despite climbing, scrambling and mountaineering for at least the last forty years, he still could not manage to produce a passable Clove Hitch or Italian Hitch at the first or second or third attempts– some things in life are just never going to happen!)
  • ‘Advanced Meccano’ construction with the Bell Mk 3 Mountain Rescue Stretcher, watched over by Trainee Team member Steve James, at which team members had to construct a stretcher from the back pack frames, in keeping with Mr Peter Bell’s original design intentions! and at which long serving team member and DVSD Dog Handler Dave Marsh proved something of an expert.
  • The final skill station, was overseen by experienced Call Out list member Sam McKay – an A & E Nurse,who tasked all arriving with demonstrating in the dark and wet, how to use our brand new in team service ‘T-Pod Responder’ @ pelvic splints (which had the added benefit if placed slightly higher than it should be of trimming our Team Leaders Pot Belly back to how it was in previous somewhat slimmer times!)

All in a very successful evening which finished at around 22.15hrs.

Twenty eight Call Out list and six Trainee Team members attended this evening.

At the exercise conclusion, a small group of team members then visited the Horseshoe Public House on Fold Road, Radcliffe, for a post exercise social drink – incidentally this as our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE recalled, was the venue for our Team Council / Committee meetings in the mid 1980s!