On a wet Friday evening, after a ridiculously long journey, 2 KCL WMS teams descended upon the Yorkshire Dales, determined to win the first national wilderness medicine competition.
The competition had been conceived by Newcastle WMS a few months earlier, and details on what to expect had been very sparse. So the Saturday morning was an eye opener to all – not only due to what was expected, but also due to the incredibly poor visibility on the hills. The competition involved some orienteering, some medical moulages and then a final exercise on the Sunday morning bringing both aspects together.
Both KCL teams put in a lot of hard work and effort, and considering the varied medical experience in each team, performed well on the moulages. However a combination of the poor weather and perhaps lack of experience in difficult map reading meant the navigation let us down. The organisers had designated a large proportion of the marks to navigation, and this is perfectly reasonable, as navigation is crucial to the work of a mountain rescue team.
So, although our teams didn’t perform as well as we might have liked, the weekend was thoroughly enjoyed by all (particularly the Ceilidh on the Saturday evening), I am sure everyone learnt a great deal and relished the opportunity to meet lots of new, like-minded people. I’m keeping details of the actual competition cagey, to prevent spoiling the surprise for next year’s teams! With a bit of training, I am sure KCL will be able to reclaim our pride amongst the university wilderness world!
A shout-out should be made to the Oxford first year who joined one of our teams to fill a missing team member – thanks for your hard work! Finally, full credit must go to Newcastle WMS, for putting on a stellar weekend, full of learning and the wilderness!
Words by Neeraj Shah