170 Troop Diary Week 10
Week 10 was taken up by the long awaited Ex Hunters Moon that we had all heard a lot about. It started off pulling up to a nice looking pub in the little town of Princetown from where we would load carry across frozen Dartmoor to the Scout Hut that we would be operating for the next few days. The weather was cold but clear, however the terrain was far harsher than the area of the Woodbury Common. Despite this we completed the move in good time and set up our Troop harbour before setting straight off on a night navigation. The temperature continued to drop and the weather limited the visibility making navigation all the harder however on the whole the Troop managed to navigate successfully.
The next day started with a kit muster, one of the coldest to date and then we got ready for another navigation, this time by day moving between high features and Tors across the moor with some theory practice thrown in along the way. On completion of this we prepared our route cards for the second night time navigation which would be completed this time unassisted in our fire-teams, (4 or 5 man groups). This again was completed well despite low visibility and we were all confident in our own abilities by the end of the evolution.
The third day started again with a kit muster to display our ability to administrate ourselves to the required standard and this time focused on static map reading by conducting a map reading stance overlooking the Burrator Reservoir. This involved a re-section question (finding out where you are) followed by answering questions from our map on the ground in front of us. We then moved quickly into a practice stalk, using all our field craft skill to sneak up on a target and fire a shot undetected. Despite the cold and wet we all enjoyed this.
On completion of this we ended the navigation portion of the exercise and conducted another long load carry, this time at night to an area called Gidleigh Wood where we would move into the survival phase. This was the phase we had heard most about and were all looking forward to. The first job was to construct a shelter in our fire team groups as we had been taught. Each group produced a good shelter and survival fire to go with it. After the first night in the shelters, the Mountain Leader arrived with chickens and fish for us to learn to butcher and prepare ready for eating. We all prepared our meals over our survival fires in old bin tins and were quiet pleased with what we had come up with. It almost rivalled the food that we have back on camp but not quite. After a second night surviving in the woods we dismantled our positions as the weather took a turn for the worst. We all felt relief as we left the wood and had made it through Ex Hunters Moon and over another milestone. Though it had been tough, we all felt a sense of achievement.