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Civil Defence walk 2 May 2008

Civil Defence walkers put their best foot forwardCIVIL Defence volunteers from the Isle of Man have embarked on a challenge to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall.

The eight-strong team left the Sea Terminal in Douglas today (Friday) to tackle the historical 84-mile route across the breadth of England.

The west coast town of Bowness on Solway will act as the starting point on Saturday (May 3) and the volunteers aim to reach their destination in Newcastle on Wednesday (May 7). They will walk along the Hadrian’s Wall path which opened in 2003 and follows the course of the Roman barrier closely along its entire length.

Those taking part are Ann Birtles (deputy commandant), Judith Bartram (support team/ emergency medical technician), Steve Kelly (team leader), Brian Kewley (deputy team leader), Jackie Pate (team member), Johnnie Sayle (training officer), Zoe Stringer (emergency medical technician) and Phil Styles (team member).

Judith is acting as the group’s support crew — taking care of transport, catering and general problem solving. The other seven team members are hiking the demanding but scenic route and everybody will pitch in to ensure the expedition progresses as smoothly as possible. The trip is seen as a good team building exercise and a chance to tackle a long-distance challenge that tests planning and operational skills as well as endurance.

Hill walking is particularly important to members of the Civil Defence Unit as they form part of the Isle of Man Mountain Rescue Team along with the Fire and Rescue Service and IoM Coastguard. This year local volunteers have attended mountain rescue training in Bowland, a winter skills course in Wales and on-Island walking group leader training.

These activities have been undertaken in addition to the extensive weekly training sessions organised by the IoM Civil Defence Unit to improve proficiency in a range of key areas.

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