British Exploring Scotland Expedition April 2019

On 6th April 2019, six intrepid explorers set off from Darlington station, waving goodbye to their families and their phones for a week. They were bound for the Highlands of Scotland, and an epic adventure……

When we (Leone, Alice, Abbey, Niamh, Jonathon and Aaron) arrived at headquarters in Stirling we were split into four different Fires (groups) for the week. Each Fire had an Adventure Leader and a Science Leader and we started to get to know the people we would be spending our week with. After a crash course in how to put up a tent (in the dark and rain!) and pack a rucksack, we set off to Basecamp in the Highlands.

As Young Explorers, we then went out on expedition from Basecamp. During these expeditions the we had to be completely self-sufficient: carrying tents, Trangia stoves, clothes and all of the food that we would need for the duration of the expedition. Three of the Fires had a re-fuelling stop at Basecamp during the week but one adventurous Fire spent all of our week out in the hills.

Each day consisted of a different theme, such as building relationships and problem solving. Around each of these topics we would do team building activities to help build on our skills and to gain confidence. Alongside the different themes each day we would do science or geography sessions based on our surroundings.

Within our fires, each day we were given a different role to even out responsibility and to become more independent whilst out in the hills. Some of these roles were navigator, environmentalist, time keeper, camp manager etc. These roles helped us to get through the day with ease as it meant we were supporting each other.

Each day in the hills had its own challenges, we were walking up to 8km in one day sometimes on uneven and challenging terrain. Some people struggled with the walking more than the others so it was all about working as a team to find the easiest route. Once we had finished a hard but rewarding day of walking we then had to set up camp and prepare the evening meal. None of this would have been possible without our experienced and encouraging team leaders who supported us all the way.

To round off the week we all had one night at base camp where all the fires joined together to share their experiences. On this night we were told we had all been working towards the prestigious John Muir Award and we all received a very special and memorable certificate. John Muir was very influential Victorian environmentalist who travelled the world, trying to help the planet. During the week we were all taught how to take care of the planet and be as eco-friendly as possible, which we have all taken forward in our everyday lives.