The first weekend for the Lowland Expedition Leadership, Level 3 training kicked off this weekend, 18-19 May 2019.

We piled into the car at Newcastle Central Station, while Natalie cycled, to Newburn Activity Centre to meet our trainer, John from North East Guides. And we started as we mean to go on, with laughter and fun. As there’s nothing worse than training, putting in the long days, and not enjoying it.

Maybe it was John’s training style, or maybe it’s a reflection of the women we have participating in the programme but there was a lot of enthusiasm, inspiration and knowledge in that training room which was shared freely and eagerly and honestly. Already this group are working as a group and this is vitally important for when we actually get out there in the landscape.


On the first day, we explored Unit 1, what behaviours and skills a leader needs while leading a group Outdoors. Hiranya’s response at the end of the day was:

‘What an amazing day! I feel as if my whole life, I’ve been sucking my stomach in, trying to fit into the ill fitting dress of whiteness.  And today, amongst you all, I could just be and breathe, and let go of that holding pattern.  I feel super blessed to be here, and very much on my path.  Seeing the 3D map completely transformed my understanding of contours.  I live in hope that, in time, maps will become like a magic eye puzzle suddenly coming alive!’

After, we explored the leadership skills we already possess such as communication skills, respect and tolerance for others, and keeping calm under pressure, and also which ones we might have to work on, such as navigation and keeping ourselves and others motivated when things go wrong,  we got down to some practical skills, such as map reading, grid-references and making that all important brew, with a Trangia.

The day just flew by, and we left as the day began; with smiles on our faces, ready to return the next day.

Jola shared her thoughts at the end of the day by saying:

Today was just amazing. I came in excited and hopeful. I was glad to be welcomed into a space where I felt welcomed and appreciated. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait to learn more, not only from the tutor but also the amazing women I’m exploring this with. We’re not just learning about how to access and reconnect with nature, but I feel as though we are also learning more about ourselves. I was pleasantly surprised how the information given was easily absorbed.