Field Course

September 15th, 2005

I’ve just returned, sweaty and tired, from the Field Course in Derbyshire. And, yes, I have had a bath before writing this! All the winterers and people who’ll be working away from the bases attend this course to learn about living outdoors in the Antarctic. We’ve learned how to erect one of BAS’s large pyramid tents, how to do alpine-style “linked travel” when walking on glaciers, and how to use a Primus stove and Tilley lamp (these are the classic paraffin-and-meths jobs: modern lightweight camping gear doesn’t survive the harsh environment!).

Pyramid tent at sunset
Pyramid tent at sunset

Linked travel
Practising linked travel

We’ve also been out on the cliffs of Curbar Edge learning to abseil, jumar (climb a rope using a sliding cam device) and prussik (climb a rope using two bits of “string”). We also had to wander round look for a lost person in a white-out – we wore blindfold goggles to do this, and caused much amusement to passing tourists, and we managed to navigate using a compass and dead reckoning. Derbyshire doesn’t seem like much of a substitute for the frozen wastes, but the techniques we learned here in the (relative) warmth will be reinforced with more training when we arrive at Rothera.

Jumaring – I’m climbing the rope, not the rock…

People lying on the floor, asleep..
Another hard day at the office!

More photographs from the field course

2 Responses to “Field Course”

  1. John C. Kirk Says:

    You do look very “Indiana Jones” in that second photo :)

  2. Michael P-J Says:

    It’s amazing – a coil of rope over one shoulder makes everyone look dashing and adventurous!

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