Your 6 point plan to adventure planning

Planning that challenge – Part 2

Things can change rapidly: Your 6 point plan for planning will help!

In part 2 of our “Planning that challenge” series we now present your 6 point plan to adventure planning!

Previously we looked at  what you want to gain from the expedition, broke down the decision making into manageable chunks and assured that the whole planning process is fun (that’s beer and curry for me thanks)!

NOTE: this is a cut-down version of the 6 point plan we wrote for the TGO magazine!

We also covered the the sources of inspiration and advice you may get. So this time we’re going in depth, capturing 60 years of experience in expedition leading and condensing it down to a simple 6 point process.

At SplashMaps we meet the best map makers, attract the most stalwart of adventurers, and our friends and fans navigate the hills regularly.

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Keeping everyone on the same page is essential


What to do?

So to the crunch! What should the challenge be? Over our curry, we considered a few criteria questions, like how long should it take? What time can we take out? What could we all do? How far do we want to travel to get to the start?
But for defining exactly what to do we looked to the best expertise we could find.

Meet our Silver Wolf

Neil Spencer, Silver Wolf and CBE; 60 years of leading

Neil Spencer is a Silver Wolf award winner in the Scouting movement. This accolade is the unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout (currently Bear Grylls), awarded for service of the most exceptional nature. Naturally Neil has enormous experience to draw upon, but it’s the Scouting principles that guided his advice. Unsurprisingly, “Be Prepared”, was the first among those principles. But his advice took me right back to the start again;

Print this off!

“The Group dynamic depends on everyone totally buying into the same concept,” began Neil. His advice comes from a lifetime (Neil is 76 and has always been in Scouting) of planning for diverse groups, meeting and helping the chronically unprepared, often in survival situations. My advice? Print this off!

Neil and freinds “back in the day”

The 6-point plan to planning!

1  Fix on a shared concept:

Is the idea to challenge ability and fitness, to push oneself to achieve some target or is it to relax and enjoy a time with friends? Buy-in here is essential. What does each individual want from the trip?

What does everyone want from the adventure?

2  Accommodate the needs of the slowest member:

Perhaps, if the group falls into two capability brackets, the option to have 2 Groups with 2 routes which intersect keeps all engaged and comfortable with the planned achievements.

3  Understand the map:

Ensure your route has escape plans in case of bad weather. The weather is not your friend. Assure participants are map and compass savvy. GPS is not always reliable in hills (Ed. paper maps can, too easily, get damaged and unreadable – consider a quality fabric map like a SplashMap).

Escape plans are discussed in advance of the venture to prevent those guys in yellow needing to dig you out!

4  Lead

Empathise with the group. Listen to ideas and concerns and meet individual needs. Trust in the leadership of the group allows all to adventure in confidence.

Trust in the leadership of the adventure boosts confidence

5  Kit decisions; Plan for the worst, hope for the best:

• The obvious kit list includes waterproofs, warm clothing (including gloves and hat), food and water, but often forgotten are the Scouting basics of a survival blanket, first aid kit, maps, compass and torch.


6  Stay in contact

• Take emergency contact measures seriously; mark the emergency landline locations on the map, keep a well charged mobile (not drained by use of GPS and movie making), AND register your phone number with the 999 emergency service so you can communicate via SMS when in trouble.

Neil knows, from over 4000 miles of long distance hill walking, solo or in groups, that the trick to a successful adventure is that “All members’ aims must be compatible from the start. The plan builds from that”


The conclusion

For us this now looks like a 2-day walking challenge based in Edale in the Peak District, covering sections of the Pennine way, Lady Bower lake. Day 1 challenge is up to 26 miles but incorporating shorter sections and escape options for the slower paced or conditions on the day. Day 2 a shorter walk for those that want and a range of alternative activities in the area for those with blisters!

What about yours?

Perhaps you’d draw the same conclusion? Maybe we’ll see you in the Peaks (23rd May)? It’s now time to add flesh to the bones. I’ll be using those experts and more desk based research following pages like Stotties Walks and some of our outdoors affiliate partners. Hope you’ll enjoy following our 2018 challenge as it develops!

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