Expedition Skills – Explorer
What WMT saysExpedition Skills is a world-class camping based multi-disciplinary 7-day collaborative training event delivered by WMT and Woodsmoke at their stunning base in the heart of the Lake District. Our aim is to deliver a solid base of expedition-proven skills ranging from bushcraft and expedition preparation to 4x4 off road skills and GPS navigation and concluding with advanced medical skills training. The course is delivered by the UK’s leading training providers in these respective fields. It starts mid-day on Monday and concludes at 5.30pm on Sunday. No previous camping or expedition experience is required. Expedition Skills was a ground breaking course when we started running it in 2005 and it's never been copied. It's an immersive, detailed and fun camping based and sociable experience. This in-depth course is ideal for expedition leaders, film crews, conservationist, teachers, soldiers, doctors, overland drivers and anyone planning an adventurous expedition, especially if it's vehicle based. Expeditions Skills could also be your ticket to building your CV with a view to working professionally in the ecotourism and adventure travel industry and therefore of interest to military personnel looking to invest their resettlement grant. Alternatively, you're welcome to join us for an exciting "working" holiday to extend your wilderness knowledge! Far From Help (and Expedition Medic - last 2 days) can be booked on its own subject to availability. Nearer the time, we may accept modular bookings for the other course modules.
What students sayGreat - all of it. Lot's of humour, real examples. An excellent, informative and useful course. Thank you v. much! Relaxed and informative - never boring! Excellent in presenting a lot of content in an interesting way. Was glad of lots of [teaching] styles. Superb - good humour & clear instructions. Handled questions well - good demos. Not enough biblical preaching and snake handling!
Who can attend?No prior experience is required and anyone without any prior expedition, driving or remote medical training is welcome to attend. Expedition Skills represents a rare opportunity to learn a valuable combination of skills from world-class experts on one, seamless course.
What’s broadly covered on Expedition Skills?The course days are divided as follows: - Woodsmoke forest and jungle training & expedition preparation - first 2.5 days (arrive noon) - 4x4 Vehicle Skills & GPS Navigation off-road driving/basic vehicle maintenance training & GPS navigation training - days 4-5 - WMT Far From Help or Expedition Skills module - days 6-7
The Expedition Skills TeamIt takes a big team of experts to deliver a course of this breadth and calibre. Woodsmoke's Ben McNutt will lead the first part of the course and their team will manage the camp and cooking for the duration. Ben is a brilliant instructor with an impressive expedition CV. The vehicle based component of the course is directed by our seasoned freelance colleagues.The final medical modules are delivered by WMT’s instructors. The breadth of the course is matched by the seamlessness in the manner in which it’s delivered.
Detailed content; skills & techniques
Module 1 - Woodsmoke training - first 2.5 daysCampcraft: pitching a light weight expedition style base camp • Camp-site selection • Base-camp equipment selection • Establishing base camp • Building group latrines • Minimum impact toilet protocols • Health hygiene & sanitation • Camp routines and protocols • Water & fuel storage • Stoves & lanterns • Expedition kitchen set-up Expedition shelters: personal/group shelters, rope-work, environmental considerations • Rope types • Rope coiling and storage • Rope throwing • Essential knots • Tensioning systems and rope pulleys • Group shelters – parachutes, tarps, shade nets • Personal shelter systems - Bashas, bivies, hammocks & tents • Personal equipment selection Fire: safety considerations, environmental impact, expedition considerations • Fire safety - choosing a fire site, extinguishing & clearing fire sites • Principles of wood selection • Burning properties of different woods • Fire starting • Establishing a fire & fire lays • Environmentally specific techniques & low impact considerations Expedition cooking • Butchering a fish/small mammal/bird • Fire management for cooking • Trail-breads • Food considerations for the trail/base camp/vehicle Water safety • The body’s reliance on water & avoiding dehydration • Finding Water – environmental considerations • Selection of source – environmental considerations • Water indicators – environmental considerations • Collecting and transporting water – environmental considerations • Potential dangers in water supplies • Water purification strategy • Water purification
Module 2 - 4x4 Vehicle Skills & GPS Navigation - days 4-5· Route planning · Manoeuvring · Ruts & tracks · Crossing ditches · Mud & wet grass (weather permitting) · Steep inclines and gradients · Convoy techniques · Introduction to winching · Basic recovery techniques Vehicle maintenance is also covered. This is kept at a basic and very accessible level in response to past course feedback. Combined with the 4x4 module is instruction in handheld GPS use. Learn about the mysteries of map datums, waypoints, tracks and routes.
Module 3 - Far From Help - days 6-7 - research led syllabusA Royal Geographical Society study of 1263 medical complaints on expedition found that more than half (51%) were classified either as gastrointestinal upsets (30%) or medical problems (21% - infections, headache, malaria etc.). So there’s more than dramatic broken bones and sucking chest wounds to deal with! Minor illnesses left untreated, especially diarrhoea, can slow a whole team down, reduce productivity and enjoyment and threaten the success of an expedition.
What’s covered on FFH?In short, FFH will help you deal with the most common problems that are identified by this RGS research and you’ll learn a range of medical skills and techniques, about the treatment of infections, illness and symptoms and how to treat injuries and special problems. See the Far From Help course page for more details and course photos. The subjects covered are as follows. Day 1 Introductions Aims of course Legal considerations Expedition medical planning – includes anti-malarials and immunisations Diagnosis - taking a history Group work - examples of history taking Measuring vital signs and examination of chest and abdomen Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation – latest guidelines Shock ABC approach to injured casualties – practical Moving, lifting and straightening a casualty Soft tissue injuries and burns Day 2 Head, neck, chest and abdominal injuries Fractures, dislocations and use of splints Common medical conditions. Management of diarrhoea Cold injuries and altitude sickness Practical – examining eyes and ears Tropical problems – heat illness, malaria, bites and stings Medical kits and supplies
Skills & TechniquesYou'll learn how to perform a physical examination, measure vital signs (e.g. blood pressure) and take a medical history from a patient. Examination + history = diagnosis, then treatment. Plus you’ll learn about improvised splinting, using neck collars and managing spinal injuries, examining eyes and ears, resuscitation in the wilderness and using a stethoscope.
Treating Infections, Illness & SymptomsFirst aid courses mainly focus on dealing with injuries but people get ill on expeditions too. You'll learn how to treat or manage a variety of illnesses and infections such as malaria, diarrhoea, wound infections, asthma and other important, common conditions of the heart, lungs, ears, nose and throat, water works and the gut. Symptom control is vital and you'll also learn how to control or reduce fever, pain and nausea even if you don’t know what the underlying cause is.
Treating Injuries & Special ProblemsFFH covers strains, sprains and fractures and other traumatic injuries, in addition to wounds, burns, frostbite, mountain sickness, some tropical diseases, bites and stings, rabies and shock.
Prescription MedicationsYou can read about using prescription antibiotics, Diamox (for high altitude) or strong pain killers in text books but the problem remains of how to obtain these supplies, how to use them appropriately taking into account allergies, contra-indications between medicines (taking more than one at a time) and your legal position. FFH training eliminates all these concerns. We'll tell you what medical supplies to take and authorise you to purchase them. Our comprehensive field manual serves as an aide memoire in the field so you prescribe conscientiously and we cover the legal considerations on each course.
FeesThe full course fee is £700 and fully inclusive of meals, camping and materials, use of specialist group equipment, course notes/manuals, all instruction and use of vehicles and associated equipment. VAT is also included. Personal camping equipment (such as tents/sleeping bags) is not provided although we do have a good supply of bashas (hammocks and tarps) to lend.