Frontier’s Wet Weekend…

by Paul Kirtley

Ben above rapids with throw bag at the ready

Ben with throw line at the ready. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

One of the greatest hazards in the outdoors is water. You can be near powerful water when hiking through wild country and you may even have to cross rivers. When you make journeys by canoe an understanding of the power of water is paramount. At Frontier Bushcraft we are committed to the highest standards of safety - both for our clients and our staff. One of the areas of safety training we undertake is white water safety and rescue. In what was a sunny yet chilly couple of days in North Wales, some of the Frontier Bushcraft team recently undertook a comprehensive and no-nonsense course with Ray Goodwin. We began with techniques for crossing or exiting moving water, progressing through various methods for rescuing individuals from white water.
Ben swimming jet of water

Striking out across a jet of moving water. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Crossing river with flow on a diagonal line

Ben crossing river on diagonal line using the flow of water to propel him. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Swimmer receives throw line

James receives a throw line in the middle of the rapids. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Paul grabbing Ben during livebait rescue

Paul grabbing Ben in whitewater. Photo: Ray Goodwin.

Frontier Team ready for livebait rescue

The Frontier Bushcraft team ready for a livebait rescue. Photo: Ray Goodwin.

Given Frontier Bushcraft's activities in canoeing and canoe expeditions, we also undertook moving water training specific to open boats - rescuing both paddlers and their craft.
Ben uprighting overturned canoe

Uprighting a canoe after a capsize. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Ray Goodwin setting up z-drag pulley system

Ray Goodwin setting up z-drag pulley system. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Not only was it great to be learning and refreshing skills, this type of training also reinforces more general attitudes towards risk assessment, incident management and communication. Frontier Bushcraft expects of its outdoor leaders quick thinking and decisive action when required. Planning, risk assessment, safety, first-aid and related training therefore form a central part of our staff education programme. Given the serious nature of the course and no shortage of cold water, frosty mornings, heavy rapids and large rocks, we all thoroughly enjoyed spending the best part of two days up to our necks in the River Dee. Despite Ben's curiosity about stoppers causing Ray to suggest we should all experience one first-hand, the weekend's training proved to further cement our team spirit.
Frontier Bushcraft team undertaking rescue scenario

James and Ben undertaking a rescue scenario. Photo: Ray Goodwin.

 

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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil

All round good stuff! – Must say I laughed when I noticed it was generally Ben in the water, in the pictures! Can see it now – “Go on Ben, in you get, I mean, you’re wet already!”

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Haha 🙂 We spent most of the course in and out of the water and certainly all had our fair share of being rescued. I had the camera and took most of the photos so it only appears that we spent the whole weekend throwing Ben in the river. If only that had been the case….

Reply

Alan Pinnington

Nice blog of a very good and well run course. Enjoyed working and learning with you all at the weekend. Thanks again Alan.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Alan

Thanks for your comment. It was really good to finally meet you (Ray had said good things :o) ). We all enjoyed doing the course alongside you and quickly felt comfortable trusting you implicitly.

Hope to see you again at some point.

All the best,

Paul

Reply

Dan Bowkett

Hi Paul,
I just wanted to say it was a pleasure to meet you in the cafe while you were at the Dee. Forgive me if it seemed I was a little excited by meeting you but I was. I have been reading your blog and you are a great man who inspires me to spend more time out in the wilderness.

Many thanks

Dan

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Dan

It was really good to meet you and chat with you too. I write my blog with the aim of helping others get more out of their time in the great outdoors and stay safe when they travel to wild and remote places. Your enthusiasm for what I’m doing certainly made me feel that I’m hitting the right notes.

I look forward to calling in to the Riverside Cafe to say hi the next time I’m on the Dee.

All the best,

Paul

Reply

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