Team in rope work adventure in Tigers Clough this evening

With so much rope work training taking place within the team over recent weeks (months) tonight for our weekly training exercise meeting, our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh and our Training Officer Alistair Greenough, decided to organise a rope work fun / adventure evening for their team colleagues.

The chosen venue was the steep rocky outcrop sided valley of the River Douglas between Rivington Lever Park and Horwich, more familiarly known as Tigers Clough.

20150701_205932Labouring away from late morning, Chris and Alistair, ably assisted by team members Gary Melia, John Dickinson and Trainee member Heath Doran, ‘constructed’ a number of rope work challenges, utilising virtually all the teams rope work equipment usually carried on all four of our team Land Rovers (In the event Land Rover BM2 remained complete with kit – just in case of emergency immediate call out need)

As the day got hotter (turning out to be a real scorcher of a July 1st) the five finished off their rope work challenge course for their colleagues to test out in the evening, all credit goes to these five who battled and lost to the millions of midges who see Tigers Clough as their territory and ideal hunting ground for a good dose of blood from any hapless humans ie these five, that happen to be around.

IMG_2506Nineteen team members enjoyed this evenings entertainment, and as the evening drew to an increasingly hot and very humid climax, the thunderstorms started, luckily all the rope kit had been recovered by this stage and very little got wet in the ensuing torrential downpours.

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Late in to the evening, and commencing again on Thursday morning 2nd July, Alistair, Chris, and john, joined by trainee member Neil Haigh and our Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers, checked over all the kit used, and placed in all back in its correct locations in each of our Land Rovers.

Meanwhile this same evening, our DVSD Handler Dave Marsh and Equipment Officer – Water Dave Cook were at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ repairing a little leak that had developed on our 3.4 metre long SAR Boat, the leak was repaired but another little ‘accident’ (webmaster, these two do like to create jobs for themselves) saw the two Dave’s wondering where at 22.00hrs they could find a local supply of outboard engine oil!

Also busy this evening was our Equipment Officer – Vehicles Neil Aspinall and his ‘new’ apprentice, team colleague Kris Kilshaw, checking that the little problem we had with our Incident Control Vehicle on Monday’s call out (Incident 58) hadn’t returned – all was well thankfully.

…… and to end the report on tonight, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and Equipment Officer –IT and Communications Steve Fletcher spent a ‘pleasant?’ few evening hours in the mugginess of our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ completely updating the teams comprehensive ‘Information Pack,’ and Training and Events Programme – Issue 9 July 2015, whilst our Treasurer Martin Banks beavered away balancing our books and looking to even more diverse ways to fund the running of the team.

There follows a report on this evenings exercise by our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh;

Tonight’s exercise was planned by our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh and Training Officer Alistair Greenough.

20150701_205920It was based in an area known as Tigers Clough which is a steep sided wooded river valley just outside Horwich, through which the River Douglas flows along with other smaller streams.

The idea was to set up a course using most of our ropes and rope rescue equipment on the steep sides of the valley.

At 10.30am team members Chris and Alistair along with fellow team members John Dickinson and Gary Melia met at our LBH base to collect all the necessary equipment from our vehicles and transport it to Tigers Clough using our Land Rover BM4 and Minibus BM5.

IMG_2510They commenced setting up the exercise and were later joined by team member Heath Doran in the afternoon.
It was unfortunate that they had chosen the hottest and most humid day in the year which made the task more difficult not helped by the presence of clouds of hungry midges.

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By the end of the afternoon, two courses were set up, each including an abseil, a via ferrata (protected climbing/steep ground route), a steep ground rope ascent and a tensioned cableway (zipwire) to cross.

Team members started arriving at 19.45 just as the finishing touches had been put to the course.

20150701_212826After a quick briefing, members were divided into two groups, each group being given a different start point.

As the group finished their course they then went on to start the next.

In the end, team members were spread evenly along both courses and continued round in one big loop.
Everyone present had fun taking part and took the opportunity to work together practicing current skills and learn new ones.

There were severe thunder storms forecast through the night and packing away commenced at around 21.45 just as the first drops of rain fell.

With everyone’s help we managed to de-rig all the equipment and carry it to the vehicles just as the heavy rain/hail and thunder/lightening moved in.

They departed the venue at around 10.15 and returned to base.