At the end of the month of September, Jim McNeill, the expedition leader and founder of Ice Warrior, invited 10 potential polar adventurers to Bellever YHA on Dartmoor to put them through their paces.
I hitched a ride with my fellow trainee, Adrian, to meet them and bond over pitching a tent.
Constructing a tent efficiently, as an organised unit, could test the patience of Buddha. The challenge is doubled if the conditions are poor. A good opportunity, then, to ferret out any character-clashes.
The weekend surprised us and the onset of October did not bring the howling wind and rain for which the moors are famous. Instead we were treated to warm conditions and a light breeze. If we failed to pitch the tents in a timely, efficient manner then it would be on us and our inability to work together.
When we first attempted this, in January, it took us almost 2 hours to pitch the 8-person tent. There were several rows and sharp comments made while the bright orange material remained on the floor, firmly not pitched.
No such problems this time. The team functioned as a team, acted calmly and put forward suggestions in a consultative manner. It took 45 minutes to pitch the giant 16-person geodesic monster.
Satisfied that the team were a decent bunch, eager to get to the Pole and crucially, not psychopathic we left for home while the new team continued their training with 4 intense days of remote emergency care medical certificate.