The assessment, the final test for the Lowland Leader Expedition qualification, came around far too quickly for my liking. Another few months of practice would have done me right. But the dates were set, 18-20 October. The wheels of motion were already in place and we just had to roll with them. I would say, we all had a busy period in our general lives before this weekend of assessment came along, but I can say we were all happy to get back out there. And it also meant the time spent out there in nature was time not spent on our Delegate Evidence Records (DER) which were a mighty big pain to complete!
Have I mentioned the rain. Yes it rained all weekend. I think it might have stopped by the time we got back to the campsite late Friday evening just in time to put our tents up in the dark but it was only a small window of dryness. It rained all weekend believe.
Again we hiked both days, in the rain, and the aim was for Paul, from North East Guides, to see us in action, confidently leading the group. But it wasn’t all formal and strict, within our walking time, Paul also took the time to explain things we were unsure about. We were allowed to get things wrong as we learned from our mistakes. A little forest got me all confused, as things in real life appeared which we not on our maps. So it throw me. But I learned, I needed to keep my head, have more confidence in my abilities and keep reviewing the situation. We were never lost just located somewhere else on the map in accordance to where we thought we were!
A rough night was had the first night at Wooler YHA, campsite. Did I mention the rain? And one of us sprung a leak, during the night, but I’m not sure it didn’t stop her from sleeping. We were thankful for the warmth of the hostel to get us dried out to start another day of hiking in the rain. Things got a little flooded, waterlogged and misty on the Saturday and the group got separated as we had to work to our own pace up and down Humbleton Hill for one and then some extensive moorland, with little visibility proved to be a test which didn’t stop us from navigating ourselves back to our campsite.
The Sunday morning was designated DER time, when we supported each other to get the paperwork complete and signed off. And you know what? I think we might have all passed.