In preparation for the School Expedition to the Sichuan region of China this summer, participants  took part in a three day training session just before the start of term.

With just 179 days before they set off, Team 1 braced themselves for a trip to Snowdonia; the aim was to “weather test” their gear and morale and to see how the group would cope in some fairly gnarly conditions.

On arrival in the Ogwyn Valley they met up with their leader, Ash, from Outlook Expeditions, who led the training with great expertise and enthusiasm, putting an already enthusiastic team through its paces with great energy and humour.  He was an immediate success with the students, though whether they will still be as enthusiastic after a month of grim puns is questionable!  They were able to get a good day’s walk in after an “alpine start”, allowing them to practise walking and route finding in the pre-dawn dark, a session on the use of crampons, first aid training, kit choice, health and hygiene, and many other skills vital to life on expedition.

The weather proved ideal for these purposes, (i.e. absolutely vile!), and forged everyone into a really united team.

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Team 2 were also in good spirits as they set out for their three days in the New Forest to test drive their kit, stamina and sense of humour and to meet up with their leader, John Carr. The weather forecast here had also been most unappetising but the group soon settled into the rather soggy campsite and enthusiastically planned a 16km walk for the following day.  This dawned bright and early and afforded them the necessary practice to deal with safe river crossings as well as how they might deal with a situation of someone going missing or suffering injury.

John Carr hit just the right note of calmness (during the rather over-enthusiastic pancake cooking) and humour (the “Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Tent” springs to mind).  He recently led an expedition to both Mongolia and China and encouraged the group to balance their busy lives in the next 5 months with the acquisition of some basic language as well as proficiency with chopsticks!

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A huge thank you to all those involved and roll on the summer and the real thing!

SAHY/AJG