Bruce held no punches

24th February 2014

Friday 31st January 2014

Very hard getting up this morning, everyone is dog tired. It’s a very demanding course, even more so if you throw yourself into it and add on the daily fitness sessions.

The morning walk was incredibly hot and I was feeling the effects of yesterday’s sun. After breakfast I had my assessment meeting with Bruce regarding yesterdays walks. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go and I started off the meeting with a critique of both my ‘lead’ and ‘back up’. Bruce thought I was being a too harsh on myself and gave me lots of positive feedback. However, he held no punches when giving me constructive feedback, this was mainly focused on keeping my head up when walking – which I suppose is pretty fundamental – and on my positioning at breaks amongst many other things.

“James, I really enjoyed the overview of basalt that you gave, it was excellent, unfortunately the rock in front of you was sandstone”

The meeting was about thirty minutes or so, the conclusion was that I’d done very well with my ‘lead’ and gave me a good score. For the ‘back up’ I also did well but it came with a few caveats. The key thing was that he passed me as competent so I am now qualified as a FGASA accredited “Back Up”. With this came the offer of a placement as “Back Up Rifle” at both Makuleke and Mashatu. Very pleased to get the offer as these places are limited and sought after. This will give me the opportunity to get my hours, encounters and experience to be in the running to qualify as a “lead rifle” by the end.

I’m really going to be able to build on my knowledge by working closely with Bruce and Henry as well as using my spare time for self study. By the time I make it to a lodge I should be really confident and knowledgable. I’m not sure yet which EcoTraining camp I’ll be starting at, I’m meeting with Dee in the morning to sort out the logistics.