It was more than a year ago since I moved my blog!

Fret not (not that you did), I've chosen to come back here and bore the life out of you all again.

Keep your eyes peeled...incoming.


The blog is moving.

I've nothing against this page, but I'm moving.
Started a little website, which can be found at www.madgaz.weebly.com
There will be a few extra bits on there, but also a built on blog.


More excitement.

I'm camping out later this week with Rixy.

Hopefully heading for Scafell and Scafell Pike. Would love to have done it with the whole group, but wanted to include a camp...this is the only date available this month due to other commitments, the next 2 months are a definate NO, as the Wife is due to give birth at the end of September...and November/December will be too cold for us lacking experience :-D

So, camping it is...and then at the end of the week, a ridiculously early start as I'm covering First Aid at the Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival.

I'll update as soon as I can, and will hopefully have some great pictures of the camp.


Snowdon Nigh Walk: Success

Well, we did it!
Yeah I know, a little surprising.
Don't get me wrong, we're capable, just not very experienced.

It all started a few weeks back, when Steven decided we were doing Snowdon for the night walk.
I got my planning head on, checked routes, and arranged the date suitable for us all.
Game on!

The four of us grew to 6, then the day before it was back down to 4. No worries, didn't know the other 2 too well anyway.
The plan was to be on the way by 20:00, arrive at 23:00 and set off up to the summit at 00:00.
The sunrise was going to be 04:50 on the day, we wanted to be there for it and these timings gave us plenty of time for any 'what if's'

Friday came, the excitement brewing more than it had done throughout the week.

The bag had been packed, unpacked and checked and repacked already...but we'll just double check it eh?
I checked the bus over, gave her some go-go juice and some air in the tyres, then bribed everybody with biscuits to set off early. Dave and Rixy rolled over like a dog, Steve had better things to do, but was ready by 18:40. I picked Steve up, then Dave and then Rixy. We set off in some of the best weather we have had all year, it was hitting 26 deg c in our neck of the woods!

The drive down was as amusing as I expected, and by the time we got there our ribs were hurting with laughter. Seriously though, imagine if a Crayfish was the size of a dog!

We have arrived. Now don't get me wrong, I expected there to be a few other people to be there, but not so many! There were only a hand-full of parking spaces left. We managed to get a good one (right at the bottom of the Miners Path), that wasn't cramped, which enabled us to spread our kit all over the place and give us room to Kung-Fu fight the midges away.

Looking up the Miners Path with 'Green Eyes'

There was a faint mist in the air, but this wasn't going to put us off in the slightest. It was still warm, and we all opted to pack the fleeces away and set off in short sleeves.

I popped over to the parking meters, £5 for 4 hours or £10 for 24 hours At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask when he robbed people. The time was 23:15 ish on the 5th or July. I was happy to listen to my 10 pound coins slide into the pockets of the government and issue me with a ticket that expired at 23:59 on the 5th of July!!! WHAT THE HELL???
What irked me more-so was the fact that some people hadn't even bothered with a ticket, yet me who had the decency to do so was robbed of a little more than 23 hours parking.
There's no way I was going to drop another tenner in there, so I took the risk that if I had being issued a ticket, I could argue the toss seeing as the ticket showed the issue time.

So, we set off, up the Pyg track.
Here's where we started comparing torches.
Steven and I had LED Lenser H7 copies. I think mine was a good find at £15 delivered from Ebay...and the light from them is amazing! Rixy had a 22 LED miners lamp and Dave had an Energizer head lamp and Tesco £15 Cree LED torch.
Despite the variations, none of them were better than the others. We weren't trying to land on a runway, we were trying to climb a mountain. They all lit up the path in front of us enough to be able to see where we were walking.

I knew the beginning was supposed to be a little testing, but didn't expect it to climb so much, so quickly. Never mind, it was easy going and easy to follow really.
We saw a few trains of head torches coming down the mountain. Somebody asked if we were doing the 3 Peaks, erm, no, we're actually just idiots out for a night walk!
We carried on going until we hit the junction with the path up Crib Goch. Here's where I wanted to turn right...but seeing as I had 3 friends with me who insisted it was a ridiculously stupid idea, we headed off further on the Pyg track.
It was pitch black, we couldn't make anything out more than 50 feet in front of us. That was until Steve and Rixy dug out their night vision. This stuff is amazing. We could see Llyn Llydaw in the bottoms, which was futher away than I expected.

Further on this track, the going got tougher. It was easily do-able, but we lost the path a few times. We could see it ahead of us, and we knew where we had come from, but it just seemed to disappear. I dare say that in day light it would have being easy to see where it was going.
We had to take a short rest because Dave and Rixy were scared after seeing a light about 30 feet in front of them. They described it as a meteor...but if it was, and it was so close, we would have been dead.
Ste and I didn't see it, but then again we aren't fantasists haha. Whatever it was, it was a talking (piss taking) point for a while.

We carried on another mile and a bit then took a break for a snack and to recover a little (the heat was terrible despite it being the very early hours of the morning).
The ascent started up to the peak and it was steep. It was at this point  I realised my boots were hurting my feet. We stopped for a(nother) breather, and for me to check them out.
Thank the Lord above for Compeed. This is the first time I have had to use it, and I will never be without it again. (I've since invested in some new boots and some 1000 mile socks)

Once my feet had been patched we carried on up the zig zags towards the top. I was just telling Steve that there would soon be a view when Rixy, who was a couple of hundred yards in-front, shouted down 'Oh my god, there's a view here!'
As the track meets the Llanberis path, there's quite a good view of Llanberis and Caernarfon all lit up in the night. The night vision was let loose again, and the mist in the valleys was stunning. It was kinda creepy too in a way. Looking around, things were looking good for a clear summit at this point.
We carried on up the track towards the summit station.

We were going to head straight for some shelter from the wind to brew up, but it would have been rude not to visit the summit first.
We got there and set the camera up for the obligatory trig point shot.

Obligatory Trig Poing Shot

We probably spent 20 minutes up there, just taking it all in, looking around at what there was to see, and being eaten by the clouds. It was a strange experience watching whisps of cloud heading towards you and consuming one another.
As we had been climbing up on the lee side of the mountain, any prevailing weather had dissipated...but being stood on the summit and looking towards the windward side of the mountain brought on a different type of weather. The clouds were blowing up and there was a damp mist in the air.

We went down to the summit station to have food and drinks. I opted for an MOD All Day Breakfast, Coffee, Oat Bars and an Oatmeal Block with ration pack Peanut Butter. Heck, I was full.

We had to try be quiet here, as there were so many people trying to sleep (around half a dozen in sleeping bags and another few like us). We didn't particularly want to be noisy, but we were elated being up there.

Dave catching some Zzz's at the Summit Station
As we sat there pondering (Dave sleeping) it began to get a little lighter. We headed off to the summit to ensure we got a prime spot before the world ascended on us. As it happens, we needn't have bothered as there were probably only another 6 people there for the sunrise. We sat down waiting. Making sure the cameras were pointing in the right direction.

We sat there. Waiting, watching. What can only be described as a defining moment of the trip, the sun started to rise. The warming orange glow in the clouds, The sky getting lighter and our surroundings becoming more apparent.
It was cool watching the clouds form and then dissipate over the hill in light, fluffy whisps.
It's really hard to take describe as I just sat there taking it all in.

I have to admit, although the sun was coming up quite quickly, I was getting rather bored waiting now, and wanted to head down (to get back before a parking ticket???)

I pushed Steve into finishing up quickly with his time lapse video (he should be a little more firm in future as his video is cut too short haha)

We headed back down the Llanberis path, onto the Pyg and then down to the Miners. How the hell we managed it I'll never know, but we strolled off path and onto a scree slope. Never mind, we could manage it, we were just tired enough to not want it.

We hobbled and complained all the way down the slope until we hit Glaslyn. This was a ripple free mirror image of Snowdon...with the cloud forming at the peak. We were happy to look back and realise we had probably grasped the only half an hour of clear views from the summit.
From here the walk was quite easy, very picturesque...but very boring. I just wanted to get my head down and get back the the motor.
It was a straight forward path down to Llyn Llydaw and then back to the motor. The clouds forming on the surface of the water were a breathtaking sight.
Hopefully the pictures will paint the picture that this walk deserves?

We got back to the van...NO TICKET. Bonus, but they need to adjust their parking meters to prevent this (in my eyes anywah)
The car park was full, and there were 3 or 4 cars waiting on the road to get in. We changed our boots, threw the kit in the back and then headed off home.
Not without a stop at McDonalds for a breakfast of course!


St John Ambulance Unit Meeting

We have our unit meeting every Wednesday. Tonight was no exception apart from the addition of another local unit joining us.

Tonight was TRAUMA, awesome!
Well actually, not as awesome as expected.

Our trainer, Niel, had more in mind than time allowed, but the time allowed gave me some great tips etc.

Neil did some of the training for my First Aid course. I liked his style then, and I like it now.
It's upbeat and makes you feel welcome. It teaches you stuff withot if feeling like a chore.
I could easily imagine our Assistant Unit Leader and Niel making a great team when it comes to teaching (but they aren't, and probably never will be).

So what did we learn tonight? We learnt how to quickly deal with a bleed.
This probably comes as second nature to anybody who has been in St John Ambulance for a while, and anybody with good First Aid training. To me, somebody new to First Aid, and somebody quite reserved and quiet, this was gonna be a hurdle to overcome. I'm not a great people person, I'm not one for speaking much to be honest. It may be the face to face thing. I can easily talk for England on a keyboard (not that I needed to tell you that)

Anyway, the basics of dealing with a bleeder are as follows:

Assess for Danger
Introduce yourself "Hi. I'm Gaz, a First Aider with St John"
Ask what's wrong (Chief Complaint) "What's wrong?"
"I have a knife wound on my fore-arm" (For instances)
Ok, do you mind if I have a look?
Expose the wound
Examine the wound
At this point, we're just a passer-by, we have no kit etc.
Once you know what the wound is like, and that it has no foreign object in it, as the Patient to apply direct pressure to it, and elevate it.
Once it has been assessed, treat for shock (unless it's minor and only needs a plaster)
Lay or sit them on the floor and keep the wound elevated.
This is where you can seek help. Ask somebody to ring for an Ambulance, and to bring a First Aid Kit back with them if they find one.
If they find a kit, treat and dress the wound.
Now, while you're waiting for an Ambulance, carry out a secondary survey and ask questions.
Signs and symptoms: That'll be the gushing wound.
Allergies: Are they allergic to anything? They may have an allergy to plasters or latex for instance.
Medication: Are they on any medication? What's it for? They may be taking blood thinning tablets!
Past medical history: Not much use on a bleeder, but they may self harm?
Last time they ate: It may seem like nothing, but could be a vital piece on information for further care.
Events leading up to the incident: Did they pass out?

So to simplify it,

Assess for danger
Introduce yourself
Ask what the problem is
Expose the wound
Examine the wound
Apply direct pressure
Treat for shock
Seek help
Treat and dress the wound
Carry out a secondary survey
Ask questions (S.A.M.P.L.E.)

It may not seem like much, but it could be invaluable help to a given situation.

Thanks Niel, you make learning enjoyable.


The First Aid Kit.

I'm sure those few of you who care to read this are fully aware of my efforts to be prepared for anything?
Well, I've just created a better First Aid Kit for our night walk up Snowdon in a few weeks.

I've based it around the Lifesystems Mountain Leader kit, a kit that costs in the region of £45 - £50.

I managed to cobble it together with my box full of random supplies in my office, and it has probably cost me in the region of £10.

Here's the blurb from the Lifesystems website. ( www.lifesystems.co.uk )


The Mountain Leader First Aid Kit provides the equipment needed to care for a large group of between 1 and 14 persons. This kit is also used by survival training schools in the UK. It has been designed with the help of expedition doctor Hugh Montgomery and members of the British Special Forces medical team.

(I'll point out here that mine looks NOTHING like the pictures,and my case is inferior to the Lifesystems originals equipment cases. I reckon the contents aren't as good either, but they'll be good enough)

Oh good, you're still here :-D

Ok, I'll get on with the list.

1 x Primary Care Leaflet
1 x Tweezers
6 x Safety Pins
1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
4 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
1 x Shears (6cm Blade)
1 x Glo Stick
1 x Resuscitation Face shield
1 x Spot Check Thermometer

16 x Paracetamol Tablets
16 x Ibuprofen Tablets

2 x Open Woven Bandages 7.5cm x 5m
1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
1 x Crepe Bandage 7.5cm x 4.5m
1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes
10 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
1 x Micropore Tape 2.5cm x 5m
1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 2.5cm x 2m
1 x Duct Tape 2m Roll
10 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)

1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
2 x Low Adherent Dressings 10 x 10cm
1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
1 x Large Plaster Fabric Strip 7.5cm x 1m
6 x Wound Closure Strips
1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing
2 x Blister Plasters

In addition to the above, I have added the following,
1 x Patient Report Form and Pencil, there's also a section on this for the Goffer to take with them.
1 x Foil Blanket
1 x Tick Removing Tool
1 x Small Tub of Vaseline
8 x Asprin
5 x Anti-Hystamines
1 x Finger Dressing
2 x Tubes of Saline Solution
2 x Hand Warmers/Heat Pads
1 x Roll PVC Tape
1 x Cold Wrap Bandage
1 x Bites and Stings Kit
1 x Head Torch
I also threw in a couple of hand and surface cleansing wipes.
I'm sure the Lifesystems kit comes with mini (1.5cm) light sticks. I have 2 of these, plus 4 x 8inch light sticks. Intense 5 and 30 minutes plus a green and red 8 hour sticks.
I've also added a Combat Application Tourniquet.

Before anybody leans back and says What. The. Hell. Don't worry. I know how to use it, and it is there for the very most extreme cases. It will not be used unless ABSOLUTELY neccessary.

Fortunately, with the training I've had and the books I've read, I feel confident that our group will be able to cope with anything first aid orientated.
We have somebody VERY well trained (a Firefighter) somebody who I think will be quite good, and Me, a St John First Aider. (Although very new to it I will add)

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Lifesystems gear, in fact, I think they are well put together kits and reasonably priced, I just wanted to use some of my surplus. I did follow their model after all ;-)
So there we have it. Thanks for reading. Hope it wasn't too boring for you. Please feel free to comment.

The Next Episode.

After a while off of doing anything walking wise (family life and training with St John Ambulance taking over) the next walk is planned.

It's a night walk up Snowdon.

Ok ok, sounds daft to some people, but we're quite capable I think. Plan is to set off to the summit at midnight, and be there for sunrise.
Whether we'll have the weather for it is a different matter.

4 or 5 weeks to plan now, should be ample. Just gotta change a few bits of kit around and get a stock of batteries for the head torches :-D