A bit of classroom based knowledge sharing started the day as we discussed the sort of background knowledge we'd be expected to know. Various bodies who have a say in what professional mountain leaders should or shouldn't be doing. Information and where/how to access it. All useful stuff for passing on to the other people we are sharing the mountains with. We consolidated our knowledge of weather forecasting by trying to predict the weather from a synoptic chart and do you know what? We made a pretty good job of it. Somethings were beginning to stick.
Time to get outdoors and we headed for the impressive Cwm Idwal, a fantastic, dramatic location which makes you feel like you're walking into the mountain rather than on it. A vast amphitheatre of shattered rocks and tumbling streams. A national nature reserve and a SSSI, the perfect place to deepen our understanding of what makes up the landscape. A brief chat about all the various people who have a say in the way this small patch of land is governed and then we were on our way. And then we stopped and talked about some moss. We moved off again and soon stopped to chat about lichen. That's how most of the day went, mosses, lichens, trees, grasses, rushes, sedges, insect eating plants, plants with medicinal properties. But it wasn't just the plants that got a look in. The ravens were the only fauna seen (apart from the slugs) and got a mention for their barrel rolling antics. The rocks occupied the rest of the time; geological processes, volcanoes, glaciers, tuffs. The complex geology of a tiny spot in the National Park was picked apart in a highly understandable way.
To break up the huge amount of information being thrown our way we had a few emergency procedures thrown in our direction. We helped people hobble down the path with a twisted ankle, we made make shift stretchers from rucksacks, walking poles, group shelters and rope, using whatever we had in our bags to help the casualty. The day on the hill ended with one of our instructors going missing and a search for him with emergency care for the 'victim'.
Back at the self catering guesthouse (it's not a bunkhouse) we had a debrief and looked briefly at the online logbook we use to capture our experience. The day ended with an introduction to rope work in preparation for a day of steep ground security.
The rest of the group disappeared while I was in the shower waiting for my jacket potato to go ping in the microwave so hopefully an early night will ensue. We're half way through. We've learnt loads but it's given us loads more to learn. Bring on the second half...