Got up about 7am, put on my navy uniform and drove into school for my cadet's-day of whole day enterprises. (erm.. woo? not..)
The Coach ride was fun, we were all talking, laughing, shouting, singing and generally being very silly, seeing who could shout something the loudest, and scoring points depending on how many people looked around...
Then we arrived at the shooting range; longest one I've seen, about 300 yards! we were only using the first post, so about 100; Still, it's a lot considering what I've shot in before has only been 25 yards!
We were using SA-80 rifles, a bit bigger than the .22's I'm used to, proper cadet rifles, so down we lie, load the bullets, align the needle to just below the white circle and WOAH! RECOIL! those things kill your shoulder after a few rounds, I've never used an SA-80 before, so wasn't really prepared, despite Tom telling us it had mammoth recoil. (Recoil is so... unnecessary.)
I didn't do too bad; as I said; my first time using a weapon like this, and at this range, but I got about 4-inch grouping, so I was fairly pleased, Mr Hooker described it as "Superb" and suggested I should have tried out for the shooting team. which made me happy :p
(N.B: counter weighted targets are fun :p) Also; the weapon hadn't been zero'd to me, so I was even happier :P
Then we had a few minutes just revising barings and map-reading (literally, 2 minutes in groups of four on the coach with the NCO's) I DID learn something though; Underwired bras can mess with compasses, so be careful girls :P
Then we all got back on board and road down to the woods (The coach getting lost roughly 7 times in a 15 minute journey and having to do three point turns in country roads) then we had a little packed lunch that left none of us feeling really full, seeing as we're hungry kids and we'd been outside all morning :p
then Mrs (or should I say reverend) Sugden started giving us our first baring and sending us off in our randomly assigned pairs, spacing us out with a couple minutes in between us. I vos ze only 5th form with another 5th form, (everyone else was paired fourth-fifth) and so we got let off last (but got back first, admittedly having missed a couple of posts :P) All was going ok; James wanted to run.. alot. and I didn't :p (cos I realised this was gonna be a long hike and it was only the beginning AND it was getting sunnier/hotter and we'd not really had enough to drink AND I hate running.) He entertained himself by poking me with stalks of grass, which got progressively more annoying as the day went on, but I digress...
All was going well, we'd hiked a while, up several little hills, found our first "marker" (aka; James Dearden, Tom's brother) and then realised that, across the fern patch we were treading "carefully" through, was a HUGE near VERTICAL.. CLIFF (Ok, they described it as a hill, it was NOT a hill.) and at the top, Mr Excell, We'd just climbed what I'd thought was a fairly substantial hill, so much that I'd beenusing the inside side of my boots to get up, but now, we see across about 350 yards of dense ferns this.. mammoth, beast of a hill, and so we start climbing up what is very little more than a rabbit run/mountain goat path, and we're the last group, so the earth's kind of chewed up, and James is not being... considerate when it comes to breaking up the few holds :P Admittedly, he did warn me that the path he was taking was full of gorse, so I could take the other, slightly more.. vertical path with pretty heather instead which, I realise, abruptly stops, so I can to climb over a wide patch of heather, onto the earth again, a few little ledges to either side, I slipped a few times, grabbingat the rough grasses etc to stop myself slipping all the way back :P Rosie grabbed my hand and helped me up the last bit, and I wanted to sit down panting for a bit as Mr Excell told us we'd just climbed about 500 yards and yet had probably only gone FORWARDS (as the crow flies, so to speak) about 5. (FUN!) He suggested we take in the view, but James was having none of that :pSo we continued down a slightly (SLIGHTLY) more level path, a few roots making "steps" to the third Marker... Willy Wong... DEVIL CHILD! Gave us our baring/distance (600 yards, 115degrees) and we realise that everyone's taking the path.. check our compass and realise they're going the wrong direction, we mention this to willy and he nods and says we're right, they're wrong, we should go through that patch of dense ferns and finda slightly hidden path, we nod and he says he expects to see us beating them fair and square by cutting off the corner, just like the bearings say, so off we trudge (this is what we came to describe it as, trudging) and we're not finding the path, we shout back to Willy and he says to continue going, so we do, James falls down a hole that's about a foot deep, I trip over some roots, fall down a hole, this goes on then.. SQUELCH
bloody brilliant. we can no longer see Willy and every other step is either a bog or a hole, the few fallen trees are all half-rotten or our boots are too slick from bog-water/mud to do us much good. Soon I'm up to my hips in water, grabbing a patch of grass (fairly solid) and mewling for James to help me, and he's doing the splits over a patch of bog, each foot on a clump of slightly solid ground and we're mutually cursing Willy Wong, and he (James) is apologising for being unable to help. :P
I suggest we head across the bog towards the path the others were taking (we're baout 500 yards away from the path, and perfectly on our bearing, but let's forget that and get on solid ground.)
I fall in a HUGE pool of boggy, stagnant water, and have to sort of.. straddle a log and pour the water out of the map-bag, a little highlight as me and James giggle, both on a fairly solid patch at this point, there's a hill that we're heading for, hoping that high ground will get us ut of the bog, I step on a rotten log, slip backwards, crunching through and slipping on the slime and hear James shout, he's gone.. disappeared, I sit/stand/kneel up, and shout "James?" and his head appears, laughing, obviously a bit hurt, but not badly, "a big one" he says and I realise he's actually lying on his back, fallen over, but it is indeed.. a big hole. which I manage to just get over :p We jump over a few streams, and slip/slide down two logs, before we reach the uphill part and the ground, still very holey, starts to dry out a little bit. God, getting onto the path was amazing. the bogs were kind of terrifiying, there were times when James and I were both completely lost in the mud/water/ooze, unable to see each other, lost and clinging to stubby grass patches for dear-life. We take a deep breath and I'd happily have stopped for a while, but James wants to make up time and we mutter evilly about Wong, "what went wrong?" "It all went so Wong.." etc, and we're both kind of.. damp? to say the least, and getting blisters, and have Wrenched knees/shoulders/bashed shins etc, are kind of scratched and muddy and.. wet. and yeurch. we have an ok time for a while, kind of rocky, but that's good; cos rocks are solid mmmm.... and we find a little bird hide/fort thing, and think we're on the right path, and then the ground starts getting a little.. splashy, and we have to start jumping over streams, and I say I think we should go back, and we turn the compass to 270 (due west) and decide to head back to the road, and the patrolling bus, 270 takes us back on teh path, up a big hill, where we have a sit down and discuss what we're gonna do, and we see a few people so James hides and I lie on the middle of the path, compass in hand, pretending to be dead/fainted, and it's Harriet, james, Tom, Lizzie, Sarah, and their fourth form counterparts, all nice and dry, and they've found 5 and 6 and are now looking for seven, we walk with them a little bit, James trying to make me feel better by ordering me to walk faster :p (aww, how sweet :p) we can see a big group of NCO's waving etc and tell the others, but htey refuse to believe us so we walk down the path and realise, hey, it's 5, 6 AND 7 all.. hanging out together (Obviously therefore they left their "posts" which may explain why we couldn't find them *glare* ) and they point us in the right direction to get to 9 and there we find Mr Excell, who laughs at our Boggifiedness, and we discuss how EVERY TIME we go orienteering James and I get paired together and ALWAYS manage to fall in bogs, then we start teh walk back to the coach on our final baring and discuss the possibilities of writing a book about bog-finding, our bog-ography, and talk about Bog-warts and professor McBoggagle, I think we were kind of tired :p and the possibility of walking in the countryside and plotting where Bogs are on maps so other people won't fall in them, but we could get paid to...
Then.. salvation, aaaaaah Coachy goodness, we sit in the big lunch-time tree and James throws bark at me (grr..) and then we sit on the coach when the others get back (Last off, first back whoot)
And the coach ride home is.. slightly quieter, with lots of begging of water bottles, a little singing, James trying to make me sing/download various songs, James falls ASLEEP (aww :P haha, he tuckered himself out) Giles tells me how stimulating it is for him to be sitting next to sleepy-james then well, I phone dad, tell him we're almost at school, we arrive AT school, the franklin and Court boys get off to go back to house up near the tennis courts and we pull down, past the art department, past salisbury and I wake up James who, without opening his eyes just goes "I know. I know we're here. we're not finished driving yet. shh."
So then.. well... it's over.. harriet goes to the grubber, I pull off my boots, still slighty wet with river water, and we both walk back to lancaster in socks, carrying the many layers which had seemed far too cold in the morning and so stiflingly hot in the afternoon.
The Army kids had a worse time; they had a night exercise, didn't get to setting up camp till 11 after being attacked in the darkness, it was raining, they didnt have proper cover, so their sleeping bags got soaked then, just as the rain was letting off and they were finally started to sleep, they got "attacked" and had to pull our their rifles and get onto their vans etc. according to Matt "It was so weird, it was just like MEdal of Honour.. it felt so.. real." but he hated it :p and they all envied our blisters, after so long taunting us for being Navy-pansys/gay-navy boys and girls etc, finally Navy seemed a little less silly.
So I was tired, I ache etc.. but overall, it was a fun day, y'know? I think I'd like to do things like it again, though maybe a little less.... Boggy.