bunn (bunn) wrote,

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Been there, close to that...


Charlotte Shaw, one of a team of teenage walkers, fell into a stream on Dartmoor and died. It sounds like she was a fairly fit and competent child, but that her companions were not, and that she was forced into a position of taking responsibility for them because they weren't permitted to break off the training when they got cold and wet.

I really didn't think they still did stuff like this. In the early 80's I vividly remember teachers at my rather poor quality North Devon school (different one, similar idea tho) doing exactly the same thing on my Duke of Edinburgh's hike. Exmoor, not Dartmoor, but I can honestly say I have never been so wet and cold while clothed.

I hope they at least had modern equipment: we were told we must wear the supplied heavy and uncomfortable poorly fitted Navy-issue boots and carry terrible heavy absorbent rucksacks which were a real torment to carry when completely soaked, and they rubbed, and rubbed... I was at least not too horribly unfit, but a friend I was walking with was very unfit and rather overweight and I can still feel the stress now of the thought running round and round the back of my brain 'what do we do if she collapses out here in the pouring rain...?'. Struggling on, mile after mile, soaked through, freezing and exhausted. No mobile phones then of course....

Allowing children to take risks if they want to do so is something I can see as a positive: forcing unwilling children to march across rough, dangerous country riven with flash floods and bogs in pouring rain for no particular reason is something I find difficult to register as anything other than abusive. It certainly put me off the idea of ever going hiking as a hobby, if that was the idea.

Poor Charlotte, and poor Yasmin. :-(
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