Hag Dyke Leadership Course
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By Cdt S Hall - 2431 (Keighley) Squadron
On the first week of August, cadets Hall and Greenwood from 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC were picked up by a minibus in Skipton, which dropped us off in Kettlewell which is a small town in upper Wharfdale for a Leadership course at Hag Dyke.
Day One- Saturday
Once we were dropped off we were told to ‘Grab your bags, fill up your water bottles we’re off for a walk’. We were walking up the steep climb to Hag Dyke in less than five minutes, which is 3.06 Km’s from Kettlewell.
Admittedly some of our Cadets which were brought with us weren’t the best hikers in the world which when we got to the top the majority was told to drop your bags get a quick drink and assist the ones that had fallen behind.
After we’d of had an equipment check and sorted everything out we we’re thrown straight into an activity, which was to build a Cairn, we had been separated into two flights before this exercise due to our numbers, there would normally of been Four flights. My flight ‘Red Flight’ lost the first exercise and Cdt. Greenwood’s flight ‘Yellow Flight’ won the first exercise by two points.
Day Two- Sunday
The following day we woke up at 6:00am sharp, we then had the morning PT (Physical Training) session, after we headed to breakfast which we had a daily Mess Officer and a Duty Officer along with a Duty NCO [Non-Commissioned Officer] which was a different person every twelve or so hours. We then had a lesson about what the equipment Airmen would have with them if they were ever to become stranded. After this lesson we changed into our Expedition clothes or something suitable for hiking and went atop the moors there. We used the time to learn how to navigate properly using a compass and a map, which we used to go around the moor and to find the wreckage of downed bombers.
Day Three – Monday
On the third day of Hag Dyke we had a full day about different types of shelters and how to build them, we learned about A-frame shelters, why we use different types of materials for each shelters and so on so forth.
Day Four - Tuesday
It was on day four that we found out that we were sleeping in a parachute, which might I add is surprisingly comfy and warm, we were treated to a lesson about fire and water how to get them both, what to use for tinder, how to filter and sterilise water and also a lecture on leadership.
Day Five – Wednesday
On Wednesday we planned for our D of E which was happening tomorrow, we had to find out the bearing of which we needed to travel on, how many contours we’d go up and how long it’d take to go from point to point. We also had a lesson on knots with the Wing Commander about different types of knots and what the purpose of each knot was.
Day Six – Thursday
Thursday was the day that was certainly an eye opener for all of my flight, since one of our members was injured we still had to go on the expedition, which he had to throw in the towel due to this on the first day, we then ventured on for another five hours going over Buckdon Pike and passing through a number of memorials until reaching our camp site, we then spent an hour putting up our tee-pee’s waiting for the other Flight.
Day Seven – Friday
On the second day of our expedition our fallen member who had to throw in the towel yesterday was allowed to join with us, which improved our moral ten folds, with this in our minds and a belly full of food we ventured on, despite the other flight setting off half an hour before us we quickly cleared that distance and overtook them, along the way we had to do a presentation on fire and water, so we pieced together some natural effects of both on the way back to Hag Dyke, when we arrived we had everything settle down and ease into the ‘chill’ mode since all of us had had a jam packed week, we discussed the week over pizza and juice, afterword’s we sat down with the officers and presented the most hated officer award to one of the officers, we then discussed how the week went, why they did what they did and so on, so forth. We had free time to do what we liked until it was lights out after the lecture.
Day Eight – Saturday.
Our Final day at Hag Dyke was …’fun?’ I guess you could call it, where they had left a cadet in charge of cooking the eggs, which inevitably lead to them tasting… excellent. We then had a race with the Flight Sergeant and the Pilot Officer down to Kettlewell.
Overall the week was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had, you meet amazing people and you learn more than you’d want and you get put under overwhelming amounts of stress, I wouldn’t change the course even if I could. I would strongly recommend it
For more information please visit the Squadron website