The first step to heading South again is heading to the week long training course at Girton College in Cambridge. All the wintering teams from all the bases attend training there each year, along with some of the summer staff. We have a separate training week with the Halley summer team in a couple of weeks so it was just the wintering team there this year.
All of the training takes place on site at the college, where BAS takes over for the week. What a great maze of buildings!
Training consists of presentations, group discussions and practical sessions shoe-horned in to busy, information-packed days. It is pretty uniform for most people, though there are a few sessions that differ, depending on what your role will be on base.
Oil-spill training (pictured above) was one of the sessions I did not attend.
But Fire Extinguisher training was pretty fun (and of course informative!). I have more fire fighting training to come next week when I go on another course so I'll try and put an update about that when I am done there.
After a week at Girton all the winterers (again from all bases - Halley, Rothera, Bird Island and King Edward Point) headed up to the Peak District for a few days of outdoor skills training. The course is held at an outdoors centre where most people slept in the tipis provided - though Al and I drove the van up and slept in that. We had mostly lovely weather and were able to brush up on a few bits and bobs, as well as get to know our fellow winterers a little better.
This is an example of the tents we use down South when on our winter trips. The massive hole cut out in the side is not a usual feature (not great for warmth or shelter) but merely to enable people to easily see in and see the set up, for those who had not seen it before.
We had the opportunity to brush up on our abseiling and jumaring too.
And then there was the no-expense-spared white-out navigation exercise! I suppose it's hard to simulate blowing snow in a lovely, sunny Derbyshire field on a warm September's day. It also has the added comedy value to offer some light relief.