Feb 26 2017
Trainee Assessment Weekend 24th-26th February 2017.
Over the past 12 months the team has been training a new batch of trainees with the one goal of becoming full operational team members of ‘Bolton Mountain Rescue’. They have been put through their paces while building up a knowledge of the core skills required for being a full team member. This included skills such as navigation, stretcher handling, rope work, water awareness and casualty care. As a culmination of their training the team took the 8 Trainee members to Rhyd Ddu in Wales to take part in their Final Assessment before becoming full operational team members.
On Friday 24th a few team members started to assemble at base to collect all the equipment that would be required for the weekend, however before they could leave on the 2.5 hour journey the team where called out to assist NWAS with an Injured Horse rider (See Incident 18). Once in wales the team quickly settled into their accommodation Rhyd Ddu outdoor centre, the trainees were keen to get to bed as soon as they could in preparation for the plans on Saturday.
Saturday 25th. The team were awoken to the fantastic smell of a good English breakfast prepared by one of our support group members Bob Melia. Once breakfast was over the team members that joined us on the weekend headed out onto the hill to set-up their individual stations ready for the trainees.
The Saturday assessment would consist of the trainees heading out in pairs and navigating around the southern parts of Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert Forest and the surrounding crags. A total of 15 checkpoints would need to be completed by the trainees and of these 15 checkpoints 4 were manned by team members. Station 1 was a rope rescue exercise where the trainees would need to demonstrate how to set-up the teams standard twin line rescue system for both a lower and raise , Station 2 was casualty care scenario which focused primarily on the splinting equipment that the team carry (such as vac splints, Kendrick traction splint and T-Pod Pelvic Splint), Station 3 was a water safety awareness exercise and the trainees knowledge of throw line water rescue, finally Station 4 was a crime scene scenario were trainees had to show their awareness of a potential crime scene and how to handle a tricky situation while trying to preserve evidence.
The weather for the day…wet and windy, what more could you ask for on an assessment day. The weather might have been against the trainees but their determination saw them through the day.
On completion of the days scenarios the team savoured the hot showers and warm food before a formal presentation of the teams ‘Red Jackets’ were presented to the trainees by Life President Bob Hutchinson, this presentation signified to the trainees that they had completed their basic training and were now fully operational team members.
In addition to the presentation of the jackets the team awards a trophy known as the ‘Stanley Award’ to the most promising team member. The decision for the award was extremely difficult as all 8 of the trainees truly deserve the award for their efforts but only one could receive this. Therefore for her determination at overcoming some difficult situations throughout training the award was given to Christine Greaves with congratulations from myself and the team.
The evening would not be complete without the team visiting the local public house ‘Cwellyn Arms’ to celebrate the trainees passing their assessment.
Sunday 26th, Again the team were awoken to the smell of a good breakfast put on by Bob Melia before packing up and tidying up ready to depart. The weekend was not over yet though. The Team & Trainees were kindly invited by Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team to visit their base before heading home. I would like to thank MREW National Training Officer Al Reid, Kindly showed us around their base.
I would just like to add thanks to the following:-
The Team – Many of who have given up their time and effort to assist me and the trainees in achieving their aim of being full team members. Including the following team members who gave up their time through poor weather conditions this weekend – Alistair Greenough, Bob Hutchinson, Diane Blakeley, Heath Doran, Martin Banks, Mike Marsh, Paul Copley, Rasti Schweitzer and Sam McKay.
Gyles Denn – An ex-team member and friend of the team who’s entertaining and fun training scenarios are second to none.
Bob Melia & His Wife – For putting on a great spread their catering efforts at ensuring the troops were kept fed and watered over the entire weekend.
The following are also suppliers of food and support that contributed to a successful weekend, Gerrards Butchers Ltd, Mrs M Marsden (Shakerley Community Partnership), Tescos Bakery (Leigh), Claphams Bakery (Leigh).
Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team – For their support and area knowledge allowing us to pick a suitable assessment area.
Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team – For inviting the team to visit and show us around their base.
And finally I wish to thank the New Operational team members listed below, who I am so very proud of. We have gone through thick and thin over the past 12months and I wish them all the very best of luck for the future in the team.
The above new members will join the rest of the operational members of ‘Bolton Mountain Rescue’ who voluntarily give up their time to serve their community 365 days a year, any time of day and in all weathers.