World Challenge Journal - Training Weekend
Emily “Bear Grylls” Robins’ Journal Entry from
World Challenge’s Training Weekend in Snowdonia
Friday 23rd February: At roughly 7:30p.m, after all of our 12 hour days at school (crazy, I know!), we all packed our rucksacks and hit the road with Mike (Mr Macdonald), Ed (Mr Hawkins) and Hannah (Miss Love). I was in a car with Flo, James and Mike- we had a great time chatting about life, sharing our feelings for this weekend, and most importantly, of course, jamming to Taylor Swift! In the midst of the journey, we stopped off at Tesco’s to buy our food for the weekend, which we had planned throughout the week. Once we retuned on the road, Mike had bought us “secret treats” for the 5 hour journey, which we all were most excited for… who doesn’t love some chocolate, eh???!!! All of us (apart from Mike, who was driving…) took a nap at roughly 12:30 a.m., and we then arrived at the campsite about half an hour later, where it was a little darker and a lot colder (apparently it was about -3 degrees!!!).
The moment we arrived, we set up the tents as quickly as possible because we knew how intense the weekend was going to be, therefore we wanted to grab as much sleep as possible! I shared a tent with Annie and, the second they arrived, we all slipped into our sleeping bags and tried to sleep, despite the biting cold telling us not to!
Saturday 24th February: As much as I had hoped to get a good night’s sleep, in all honestly, with the sound and feeling of the freezing wind, it was perhaps a little more challenging than I anticipated… Nevertheless, we all awoke in the morning to the most shockingly beautiful sights of the mountains and sunrise - we didn’t get to see how breathtaking our site was the previous night because it was pitch black! To help warm up our freezing toes, we made ourselves some warm breakfast, consisting of porridge and beans! An important part of this weekend was meeting our Team Leader, Peter, who throughout the weekend got to take us to the Welsh mountains as he told us all the information required so that we will have a safe and enjoyable expedition (whilst he trained us, we also got to see how funny and experienced he is, thus we bonded with him very well - I reckoned it gave us all the reassurance that when we do the expedition, we will be safe!). The first thing Peter taught us was how to use a Trangia stove, which we all got to grips with easily! After breakfast, we all split into groups (washing up and making lunch), as we prepared for the day’s trek. I helped make lunch, and in hindsight, we all realised that perhaps we could have prepared our food more carefully (bagels were an interesting choice)… Nevertheless, it was a learning curve!
We then started our 5 hour hike through the mountains: it was such an invigorating feeling: notably, since I have the smallest legs of the team, the fact that I was able to do it made me adopt the nickname, “Bear Grylls”. My favourite moment of the trek was when we used the 12 person-shelter as a practice, which was essentially a red, toasty igloo - we loved it so much that we used it again for fun in the evening! Additionally, I loved how exciting the trek was because we were walking all over the place, whether that be over a river, through some rocks or on the roads!
5 hours later, we returned to the campsite, a little warmer and far more exhausted - we took a half an hour break, where we had some hot drinks to wake ourselves up! Then, the team reunited to have a chat about the community programme: the programme is roughly 5 days of our expedition where we will first-handedly get involved with a local community. We all decided that we want the experience to be symbiotic and to learn from them just as much as they will (hopefully!) learn from us. After the chat, we fuelled up the stoves and cooked our dinner: pasta!
For the rest of the evening we were really unwinding. Despite the hot food and all my layers of clothing, it was so cold throughout the night, I would jog up and down the road, just to make sure I could still feel my toes!! At the end of the evening, the entire team set up the shelter again, where we ate treats. Afterwards, despite it being very early, we all divided to our tents. Annie, Esmé and I had the loveliest evening, for we all got into the tent and chatted for a good couple of hours, until we were ready to sleep. Just before sleeping, we all decided to quickly jog outside, so that we could bring the warmth of our bodies to the tent for overnight.
Sunday 25th February: Jogging before we went to sleep was the single greatest decision I made that weekend (and potentially ever!) because I woke up from a brilliant sleep, feeling nice‘n’toasty! However, whilst breakfast was being prepared, we continued to jog, in order to maintain the warmth. We had a time limit of 2 hours to make breakfast, wash up and make lunch! We managed to stick to the time limit, enabling us to start our trek earlier! Sunday’s trek was more strenuous, for the mountain was steeper and Peter didn’t have to stop to talk about cautions of the expedition. At times, we all were getting tired, however when we reached the lake where we ate lunch, there was a great sense of general relief and achievement from the team, and reassurance that WE CAN DO THIS, especially as it only took us over 2 hours, when it should have taken us 3! We were also seeing the most stunning aesthetics and some wild animals, too! However, what I loved most on Sunday was the conversations we were having and the teamwork of helping us all make it to the top! When we returned to the campsite, we had a quick chat with Peter about our kit list for java, then packed up our tents and headed off!
This weekend was the most incredible, useful and fulfilling experience. Also, it is reassuring to know that we are going to a hot country because the temperature was nearly unbearable! Most importantly, however this weekend has made me more excited and made me feel more ready for the expedition in July. Let’s go team!