High on Arkle
Catching up on a few busy days at Ardmore
Thursday June 23rd 2016
Its been a busy time here since our last news page report. With strong winds forecast at summit level we decided to stay at the Adventure School on Monday night and defer our summit attempt on Arkle until Wednesday, rather than Tuesday.
So on Tuesday the teams were out on ‘search to survive’, a wilderness orienteering course that tests not only navigation skill but decision making and teamwork, with the pupils operating in small squads of two or three without direct input from instructors or teachers. We also looked at the shelter building element of survival skills, learning knots and simple methods to construct shelters with old yacht sails, tarpaulins and small bivvy sheets.
With our deferred mountain day, Tuesday evening became the wild camping night, out at the old stone stables at Lone. It has been the basecamp for forays into the mountains by courses at the Adventure School for nearly 50 years. The forecast based decision paid off and we had near perfect conditions for our ascent of Arkle yesterday (Wednesday). High cloud giving us good visibililty but without the heat of the sun for much of the day, and a light breeze requiring fleeces and waterproof coats at summit level only.
The teams picked their own routes up the mountain, showing solid resolve and determination on a day that is designed to be tough, to stretch and challenge the pupils and bind the team together.
The mountain has two summits, linked by a crescent shaped ridge that requires the use of hands in places, not an easy proposition. But by 1.30pm all the pupils had completed the full ascent and were starting to wend their way back down the mountain.
We’ve had another good weather day today for sea kayaking and lobster creeling and the pupils are out on survival island tonight with blue skies and a pleasant breeze. Its is their opportunity to put together all the skills that they have learned here, and fill the leadership void so often filled by teachers or instructors. Conditions couldn’t be much better here in the far north-west.