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World Challenge Morocco Team Practice Expedition

On Saturday 11th November the team assembled at 8am outside the College to embark on the two day practice expedition. This was based in the idyllic surroundings of Ashdown Wood in East Surrey.

After stopping to grab a few sandwiches for lunch we arrived and went straight into expedition preparation. Team kit (emergency shelter, grab line, harness and karabiner, survival bag, 30m rope and most importantly tents) was issued and carried along with our rucksacks and day sacks to the spot we were to call home for the next two days.

The learning started straight away with camp-craft; pitching tents and choosing a site. Once all the tents were up we put up a ‘tarp’ as a group activity so we had somewhere dry to cook and eat if needed which it was, as it rained for most of the Saturday! We then learned about food, personal hygiene and kit packing before having lunch under the ‘tarp’. After lunch we set off on a circular walk to Lily Pond and practiced our map-reading and navigation.

Throughout the walk we went through a number of scenarios including emergency shelter use, safety around water and a very convincing, Oscar nominating performance by Sam Lowe in first aid. By the time we got back it was starting to get dark, so it was straight into the meal preparation and remembering about personal hygiene. A meal of pasta and sauce always tastes better in the open and when you are hungry. Then it was a well-earned rest ready for Sunday. After raining for most of the night we emerged to a much better day on Sunday; dryand slightly colder. Breakfast of porridge prepared us for our longer walk today. Again a circular walk involving more scenarios saw us learn about river crossings, use of harnesses and safety on roads. A skip-off was used to keep us warm at lunch and the open-air wrap restaurant was set up to provide lunch. The whole walk seemed to pass more quickly due to the advent of the game ‘pegs’ which was enjoyed by all. We then headed back to base where had to finish packing away camp and then hand back most of the kit. We kept the tents as these will be ours for the actual expedition in April.  After a Kit-Kat and some soup we piled back into the bus for the journey home to be picked up by waiting parents.

We have certainly tested the waterproofness of the tents which passed with flying colours, learned a huge amount about living on expedition and more importantly about living as a team. I think we went as seven individuals and came back as a team and I was thoroughly impressed by all the students. Also thanks to Mrs Hinge who is accompanying us on the expedition for her introduction to UK camping.

Giles Scoble, Vice Principal