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Topics - Callum

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New Techniques & Learning / Free climbing rope book
« on: August 18, 2014, 08:11:45 AM »
The British Mountaineering Council have just produced a great 32 page booklet to help climbers and mountaineers choose suitable ropes and provide advice on how to safely use and maintain them.

ROPES - A guide for climbers and mountaineers

At the beginning of the summer we a load of storm shelters, made by Vango, comprising a mixture of 2, 4 and 8 person shelters and bought at this time because we were offered a very good deal on them, plus our old shelters had definitely seen better days ::)

Our instructors usually carry the 8 person and we have tended to use these only in the winter. However, on this occasion we have got the students to carry the 2 persons in pairs and they have proved to be really useful. Not just protecting us from showers and wind when we stop for lunch, but also as an escape from the midge. This year, maybe due to the wild winter, I don’t know, on the lower Lakeland fells the midge have been terrible. Moving we tend to stick to ridges or areas where the breeze is anything above 2kmph, but sitting under shelter, especially amongst trees, the midge problem arises.

Needless to say, most of the youngsters have never seen, let alone used, storm shelters before, so unpacking, getting in and then repacking them, the shelters have had some pretty rough treatment and they have stood up to it really well.

Personally I like the 2 person for personal use, especially its weight 380 grams :)

General Discussion / A Bench on the Ben
« on: June 10, 2014, 10:05:33 AM »
Vandals have carried a wooden bench and concreted it on the summit of Ben Nevis. Fortunately, the brilliant John Muir Trust has said that they are going to remove it next Saturday. There will always be fools on the hills >:(

Reviews, Suggestions and Advice / The correct way to use walking poles
« on: April 01, 2014, 01:33:32 PM »
Recently I was struck by something - I don't know how to use my walking poles correctly.

Now don't get me wrong, I have been using them for years, especially on downhill descents. However, last week a group of youngsters, all from the same school, came kitted with walking poles and I became conscious that I have had no formal training in using poles, being self-taught, when the kids asked me the correct way to use them. Experience has taught me that when I am self-taught in a subject I invariably am missing something. Can somebody point me in the right direction where I can find comprehensive instructions to use them correctly?

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / GPS illegal in Russia
« on: November 14, 2013, 09:56:10 AM »
A really interesting feature on BBC World News last night. As of next year, all mobile phones sold in Russia will have to use GLONASS or GLONASS & GPS and mobile sold with only GPS will be illegal in Russia, this includes all imported models.

Good to see that the old Soviet style dictatorship is still alive ;)

General Discussion / Dial M for Misleading
« on: November 12, 2013, 08:31:26 AM »
I can remember as a kid watching 007 in M's office, where there was always red phone on M’s desk direct to the PM and it was scrambled. And later in the 1980’s whilst in the British Army, I routinely used satcoms for all secure communications.

Only last year, whilst on holiday in Belgium, I was surprised to see inexpensive mobile phone intercept equipment readily for sale to the general public and a quick trawl of the www reveals it is also readily available from Chinese companies too.

So am I missing something when all the Western Leaders, with the notable exception of David Cameron, are :o that their mobile phone conversations and texts are intercepted by the Americans? Can the Western Leaders really have been so ill-informed by their respective intelligence services, or is this media hype a subterfuge or smokescreen?

Standing in my local newsagents this morning and glancing at the newspapers headlines it would appear Armageddon is going to descend upon Britain this week, or is this just newspaper hike? 

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Speed control
« on: September 02, 2013, 04:18:46 PM »
Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety at the University of Leeds, was being interviewed on the today programme, R4 this morning; about a trial he has just completed using satnav to control the speed of road vehicles. When the feature started I was thinking another big brother initiative, however, the system can be easily over-ridden by the driver, say for example overtaking. He reported that the majority of drivers liked using the system and furthermore that he projected a reduction in fatal road accidents of almost 20% - interesting?

Trip reports / Outward-bound centres really doing well
« on: August 16, 2013, 12:03:24 PM »
The centres busiest summer yet with an increase of nearly 20% so far of students attending, compared to the same period last year, hardly had time to think and another four weeks to go! Reports from other centres and schools is exactly the same and more Brits seem to be holidaying in GB, all very promising and professionally rewarding for us as a team.

First Aid / Lyme disease
« on: June 26, 2013, 07:56:09 AM »
All of our team leaders at the centre need to be ever vigilant with the youngsters we are responsible for about their exposure to Lyme disease. So far none have contracted it but two of our instructors did and very unpleasant it was for one of them. Luckily, because we are vigilant about this disease it was spotted early in both of them and treatment was quick.

It is contracted via ticks, something we get a great deal of in the Lakeland Fells, so covering legs and arms is a must when tick numbers are at their peak and looking out for the following signs and symptoms:
•skin rashes

If it is untreated serious complications can arise.

So a feature on BBC R4 yesterday grabbed our attention, a trial is going on in Germany and Austria with a vaccine for this disease and initial results are very encouraging, according to the report is that it may be available in the UK within the next three years and it is something I most certainly will be encouraging all of our team leaders to consider.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / GPS Video
« on: June 07, 2013, 08:15:02 AM »
The US Air Force has launched an interesting video about GPS.

Whilst a bit glitzy it reveals some interesting facts and gives a good overview of its applications and the new signals being transmitted.

The statement “Accuracy, better than published standards’ intrigued me. The official US GPS website states globally an accuracy of 7.8 m at a 95% confidence level. In the UNM it is 2.78m (P249). My own personal experience in the Lake District is less than 2m, on many occaisions nearer 1m.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Track It
« on: May 06, 2013, 09:15:19 AM »
Our organisation has just installed these onto our school minibuses I think they are a sensible innovation.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Automated snow ploughs
« on: February 07, 2013, 09:07:01 AM »
A mountaineering friend, who now lives out in Minnesota, sent me this great link of a snow plough, that a colleague of his has been involved in building, which uses GNSS navigation!

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

It was entered in to the World Autonomous Snowplow Competion 

Both my kids want me to build one :)

Plans / Christmas 2012
« on: December 24, 2012, 12:09:56 PM »
Traditional mountain bike ride, over a designated track across the fells, followed by a hot shower, lots of mud and heavy rain here, then down to the local pub, where the landlord puts on a great Christmas Eve buffet, has a log fire and serves great hand-pulled pints of Black Sheep Bitter.

Happy Christmas everyone :)

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