22.07.15 — Journal

Selside Outward Bound

As part of my scholarship training, the lovely people at the University decided to send us on a three day outward bound trip off into the Yorkshire Dales, to spend some time engaging in various outdoorsy team-building activities based around a hut in a field called Selside. All first year scholars plus some second years (including me) were invited to tag along and enjoy caving, climbing, ambling, marshmallow-roasting, and more…

The scholars arrive at Selside

On the first day we arrived (just about) in the blue rust bucket that was our designated minibus, and after claiming a bed and a pair of indoor Crocs each, were sent straight into the adjoining field for some challenges. These involved walking on planks, building plank bridges across barrels, transporting ‘radioactive waste’, and communicating directions to others whilst blindfolded – all of which we managed successfully! This meant that our lunch was made for us – best prize ever.

Not sure if team-building shot or renaissance art

In the afternoon I took charge in deciding what activities we should go out and enjoy, with the general consensus being that people either wanted to go caving or go climbing. We split into two groups, and I joined the caving team for a trip under the Dales. The cave we had been assigned, it turned out, I had taken on exactly ten years ago when I was in Year 5 of primary school! I was pretty impressed when I could remember most of the layout.

The cavers are ready
Returning from the caves

Anyway, after peeling off our waterlogged clothes, roasting marshmallows over a BBQ, and accidentally sitting on the lid of Selside’s septic tank, we all headed off to bed.

Day two began as actively as the first day had ended, with us bumbling back through the deadly roads of the Dales for a spot of Ghyll Scrambling. This involved climbing up the riverbed of a river which ran down the side of a hill – however we got off lightly as the dry conditions meant there was little to no water flow – ideal for someone like me who had been moaning about being cold all morning. The midges, however, did not let us off lightly – we were bitten to death whilst trying to pass various scholars through a rope web at various heights as part of a quick team-building exercise.

I stole Damian's hat

In the afternoon I decided to push myself and volunteered, along with Adam, to co-lead the next expedition down the cave with the second set of scholars who had arrived. With my caving experience limited to the previous day’s efforts and my primary school trip a decade ago, I was very worried about getting the whole team lost for all eternity in the black caverns under Selside. I learned, however, that to be a respected leader one must carry on with false conviction in order to create the illusion that you know what you are doing – and if it turns out that you got it wrong, you have to know when to throw your hands up and admit that you screwed up.

Emerging from the cave a second time

Happily, however, I managed to successfully lead the rest of the scholars through the cave, and we resurfaced with the same number which we descended with. We did, however, return to Selside to the news that Pippa had been stretchered down the hillside from a walk she’d been on – an injury which ended with her in Leeds General Infirmary for the night! I am please to report that she has since recovered.

Joe, Emma & Pippa, all from PVAC

Day three began with just the second group around, all of whom went Ghyll Scrambling – however with me having already done it, I opted to stay indoors and help cook up some lunch for the returning scholars. After whipping up some stuffed potato skins, soups, sandwiches, and a ridiculous number of apple pies, the scholars returned to feast and then end the outward bound with some indoor team-building activities.

Returning from our Gyhll Scramble with a new hat
Wet and cold and ready for home

The outward bound residential, in brief, was a whole lot of fun concealing a whole lot of learning. It was a lovely opportunity to get to know the scholars, try new activities, and build on our leadership and organisational skills. Thank you to all involved in making it happen!

Image Credit: All photos in this blog post, unless otherwise stated, are property of Damian McDonald / The University of Leeds.