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Updates from our 2021 Expeditions

By British Exploring Society,
charity update

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
20th August

British Exploring Society Fundraising Officer Amy-Leigh spent some time in the Scottish Highlands with Fire 2 (known as Fire McMidge) last week as they settled into base camp – collecting water, cooking, and getting used to midge-protection – before heading out on their first tour starting at Steel Falls in Glen Nevis. They meandered through the valleys, battling wind and rain and trudging through marshy grass to get to the comfort of a Bothy to dry off for the night. The consistent humour and teamwork of the Fire throughout was admirable, even when they had to put their warm dry feet back into their wet boots to trek for another day. With the expedition coming to a close this weekend, we can’t wait to hear about their further adventures.

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 2
18th August

Young Explorers on our second Landmark Scottish Highlands expedition have been exploring Loch Tay, trekking along its shores and practising outdoor skills such as fire lighting.

Fire lighting is a vital outdoor skill to know during expeditions as it is used for cooking and keeping warm. The skills involved include how to prepare a fire using the correct wood and tinder; lighting the fire; maintaining the fire, and how to extinguish and clear it.

 

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
18
th August

‘Wild Cats’ Fire begun their final tour today, exploring from Loch Arkaig to Glenfinnan to spot locations filmed in Harry Potter. They will be wild camping along the route, putting to use the outdoors skills they’ve been learning throughout expedition, before all Fires return to basecamp to carry out reflection exercises.

This will include our introspective tool ‘My Compass’ which focuses our Young Explorers on their development of attributes such as confidence, self-awareness, and mindfulness. Read more about My Compass here.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
17
th August

As this expedition draws towards its end, ‘Wild Cats’ Fire is spending time at basecamp reflecting on their achievements so far. With one more tour to go, which will involve two nights exploring ‘Hogwarts country’, they’ve shared their reflections with us:

Young Explorers have been conquering their fears and making new friends, whilst in the ‘Hartz’ of Scotland. They have climbed mountains, bagged Munro’s, walked scores of kilometres and made lasting friendships. When the weather was really bad, squally showers and strong winds, they took shelter in a mountain Bothy. Making hot drinks hot they shared laughter and shelter until the storm passed. At their campfire, the evening passed frightening each other with ghost stories eating smores as smoke kept the midges away. 

Above text written by Young Explorer Frankie-Mae. 
Poem to the right written by Young Explorer Rinesa.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
16
th August

Greetings from the top of a Munro (defined as a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3,000 feet)!

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
13
th August

After setting out on their tours last week, venturing away from basecamp and into the depths of the Scottish Highlands surrounding Spean Bridge, the Fires have all been getting to know their surroundings.

‘The No Eyed Deers’ FIre headed out for a three-day adventure in the Grey Corries. The walk to the Lairig Leacach Bothy (a small hut for use as a mountain refuge) was a 15km hike that meandered through the forest, past highland cows, up into the valley that was sandwiched between steep mountains on either side. After they set up their tents a short walk from the bothy, they spent an evening cooking, making hot chocolates and playing cards with ‘Sirius’ Fire in the warmth of the bothy before heading back to their tents.

The next day, it was time for ‘Sirius’ Fire to head back to basecamp to rest and re-stock before heading off on the train to Corrour for a big multi-day adventure. Despite cancelled trains, they’ve started their six-day-long final tour with both plenty of sunshine and Basecamp Manager Ali in attendance.

 

 

‘The No Eyed Deers’ were treated to some proper Scottish conditions on their walk the next day to the Meanach bothy. They had wind, rain, sunshine and rain all at the same time, and then a rainbow.

They spotted caterpillars, frogs and other amazing flora and fauna, including the oldest plant in the world: a 400 million-year-old ‘Club Moss’ (pictured left)!

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
12
th August

Fire 1, Week 1:

Canoeing is not simply paddling in one direction. You work with your partner, you turn your paddle, and you change direction. Like canoeing, our first week was not plain sailing, we did not go in one direction. Winds made our second day on the loch hard and tiring, and forecasted heavy rains and thunderstorms left us stranded on a beautiful beach where no rain was even seen.

But what got us through the aching arms and tired heads was the people around us. Our first week may not have gone to plan but our Fire had enough backs to provide shoulders to cry on, salsa classes, games with frisbees, and ukelele playing around a campfire on a beach under the stars of Scotland. These moments steered our course in one direction, no matter what the change in weather or plans.

Written by Young Explorer Ellie Bestington with input from the rest of FIre 1

Fire 1, Week 2:

The expedition on Loch Tay’s waters was fun but the conquering of its tall hills taught us priceless lessons about not only ourselves but also how to work as a team and how to prove to yourself you can do it. Physically we pushed ourselves and each other to achieve things like 9K walks in the never-ending blinding rain, cracking jokes the entire way.

Each and every one of us has gained a mountain of confidence from the strong and rigid support we give each other. Fun knowledge activities were not hard to come by, be it the late-night badger stakeout which led to stargazing and star photography, or the handling of frogs, lizards etc. and even the fun frisbee game we created.  And of course the night campfire singsongs.

Even though we paddled and walked for ages, travelling great distances and seeing beautiful things along the way, the true Journey has been the lifelong friends we’ve made along the way.

Written by Young Explorer Jack Creedon with input from the rest of FIre 1

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
11
th August

Fire 4 have set off on their first day walk today, following the river East of Spean Bridge for a 6-hour hike. They’ve seen hares and lots of sheep, much to the delight of Young Explorer Isaiah (pictured right) who had really wanted to see one.

It’s about 15°C and raining but everyone is in high spirits and they’re pleased to report that there are no midges out at the moment!

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
10
th August

Check out Fire 3 starting their paddle this morning. They’re setting out onto Loch Tay which, at 15 miles long, has plenty to explore. They are heading to Waterfall Beach where they’ll camp overnight and then they will continue to travel along the shores of the Loch.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
9th August

“Thank you so much for the opportunity you have just given my son on the Hartz Scottish Explorers expedition. He’s full of energy, completely not what I was expecting. He’s talking about making some lifestyle changes too. It’s had a massive impact on him already I think.” – Susan Wells, parent of a Young Explorer who took part in Hartz Scottish Explorers 2021.

 

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
9th August

“As I write this I’m in the last stages of preparation for the British Exploring Society expedition to the Scottish Highlands which I’m well excited about. One of the things I’m really looking forward to is trying out some of the skills that I’ve learnt from Wildestan.  For example, I imagine we’re going to be getting our drinking water from the streams up in the mountains and so purifying it is going to be essential for the team (Fire) to stay safe and healthy.

Through finding out and joining in with Wildestan, I found out that I was old enough to join in an expedition. I applied and was so happy, extremely grateful and honoured when I got that email saying basically ‘welcome to the team’. I’m sure this opportunity is going to be life-changing and have a massively positive impact on my journey in trying to achieve my dream of becoming an explorer.

As someone who wants to be an expedition leader who works with young people, the Leaders couldn’t have been any better. Being able to ask for advice and get tips was great.” – Young Explorer Evan.

Read Evan’s full story here and learn more about our online Wildestan Adventures here.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 2
9th August

With Hartz Scottish Explorers 1 having come to an end on Saturday, the basecamp team now eagerly await the Young Explorers travelling up to the Scottish Highlands today to begin their Hartz Scottish Explorers 2 expedition.

Senior Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Holly Burns took these beautiful photos of basecamp this morning.

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
5th August

The latest update from Landmark’s basecamp is that they are all well, enjoying the weather (for now!) and the beautiful views. All Fires left basecamp to begin their trekking and paddling on Tuesday.

Fire 1 have been paddling on Loch Tay between basecamp and Killin. Photo taken by Senior Paddle Leader Chris Pearson. Check out the video below, too, of Fire 1 relaxing around a campfire, taken by Knowledge Leader Matthew Scott.

 

Fire 2 have been trekking on the North side of Loch Tay. They are well and have been enjoying trekking, setting up their camp, and eating from their ration packs. Photo from Senior Knowledge Leader Joey McLaughlan.

Fire 3 are trekking on the South side of Loch Tay and say that they are camping by a beautiful waterfall east of Dunan.

DANGOOR NEXT GENERATION SCOTLAND
5th August

All of Dangoor Next Generation Scotland’s Fires are currently out on tours exploring Scotland’s wilderness, having chosen as a team their objectives of where to trek to and where to pitch their tents overnight.

Basecamp checked in with each Fire yesterday on supply runs to keep everyone’s resource levels stocked up and gathered the photos below. The Young Explorers have found some breath-taking views and are enjoying getting to know the local wildlife.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
4th August

All of the Fires have been out exploring their surroundings on ‘tours’ which involves planning a route and camping overnight away from basecamp with their Fire. While on their tour, they’ll be carrying out science and/or media projects, which may involve learning about the wildlife they encounter or practising how to use cameras to film short videos

The intrepid Voyager Fire on our Hartz Scottish Explorers expedition are on a roll and have now spent six days away from basecamp exploring the surrounding wilderness. These photos were taken by their Leader while following a drovers path beneath the Grey Corries. Check out the frog in Young Explorer Hannah’s hand!

 

 

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
3rd August

Another beautiful view from our Landmark expedition of Loch Tay. Photo by Medical Leader Daniel Grace (@wildernessmeduk on Twitter)

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
3rd August

A quick weather check for our expeditions; the maximum temperature today in Spean Bridge is 18°C, going down to 10°C this evening. This afternoon will see some sunny spells gradually develop. However, there is the chance of some lingering showers in places. Light south-westerly winds.

 

DANGOOR NEXT GENERATION SCOTLAND
3rd August

The maximum temperature today in Blair Atholl is 18°C, going down to 10°C this evening. A few patches of cloud will drift in during the afternoon, along with a few isolated showers. Sunny spells are forecast to develop between any cloudy breaks. Light south-westerly winds.

 

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
3rd August

Similarly, the maximum temperature today in Ardtalnaig is 18°C, going down to 10°C this evening. A few patches of cloud will drift in during the afternoon, along with a few isolated showers. Sunny spells are forecast to develop between any cloudy breaks. Light south-westerly winds.

Young Explorers have been getting out on the water today to carry out paddle training. Photo by Deputy Chief Leader Clare Fitchett.

 

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
2nd August

Base camp is taking shape! More great photos from Deputy Chief Leader Clare Fitchett, featuring our Young Explorers getting to know one another while appreciating the protection that comes from having anti-midge headgear.

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 1
2nd August

We’re excited to see more Young Explorers travelling up to basecamp today, pictured here by Deputy Chief Leader Clare Fitchett (@clare_fitchett on Twitter), for our Landmark Scottish Highlands expedition where they will be exploring Loch Tay.

DANGOOR NEXT GENERATION SCOTLAND
2nd August

Young Explorers on Dangoor Next Generation Scotland are getting used to wild camping near basecamp in preparation to go out further into the beautiful surrounding landscape in their Fires (Fire is the British Exploring Society word for a team of around 12 people, as it’s the perfect amount of people that can fit around a camp fire). They’re learning where best to pitch their tents and how to practice ‘leave no trace‘ principles, including planning ahead, disposing of rubbish correctly, and leaving areas as they found them.

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
2nd August

It’s one week in for the Young Explorers on the Hartz Scottish Explorers expedition and they are being treated to glorious sunshine and stunning views from the Commando Memorial in Spean Bridge across to the Grey Corries. The Grey Corries are a range of mountains in the West Highlands of Scotland. The range includes several of Scotland’s highest peaks including a number of Munros (mountains above 3,000ft), with Ben Nevis the UK’s highest mountain standing proudly in the distance.

The ‘Voyage’ Fire is taking the name ‘Voyagers’ to a whole new level and have decided they would like to head off on a 6-day tour! They are heading for the Lairig Leacach bothy (a Scottish mountain hut) which sits at the foot of Stob Ban.

Explorers have caught a glimpse of rare local wildlife in their natural habitat too, with an Osprey (1 of 250 breeding pairs) & Golden Eagle (1 of 400 breeding pairs) sighted, thanks to the perfect skies that have been on offer over the weekend. Leaders have also been passing on their foraging knowledge (foraging is the act of searching for food from the natural environment) as the Explorers search for wild edibles – from flowers to berries and herbs – learning about the different flora and fauna in the area.

We hope all the Fires have a great time exploring and that the sunshine continues for them!

DANGOOR NEXT GENERATION SCOTLAND
30th July

18 excited Young Explorers arrived safely at their basecamp in the Scottish Highlands on Wednesday 28th July ready to start their Dangoor Next Generation expedition. They spent the day yesterday getting accustomed to basecamp life, cooking on their stoves and bonding as a Fire (group).

The plan is for them to leave basecamp today in their Fires and explore the area a little further North to set up smaller camps. Everyone is doing well and they are all united in their hatred of the Scottish midgie!

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
29th July

28 Young Explorers arrived safely at basecamp on Monday 26th July ready to embark on their exciting adventure in the Scottish Highlands. As well as getting accustomed to life at basecamp in Spean Bridge, they have been spending the last 3 days undergoing Explorer Training. Training provides Young Explorers with the skills to thrive in their wilderness environment.

The young people have been learning to work as a team in their Fires (groups), learning how to put up their tents, pack their rucksacks, how to cook outside on stoves, how to navigate through their surroundings and about health and hygiene whilst on expedition.

Over the next few days, they will ready their bags and decide in their Fires where they would like to explore as a team. The British Exploring Society team at HQ are incredibly jealous and hope they have a fantastic time out in the wild landscapes of the Scottish Highlands!

DANGOOR NEXT GENERATION SCOTLAND
28th July

Great to see more of our Young Explorers set off today on our Dangoor Next Generation Scotland expedition, enjoy the adventure!

Our Young Explorers from Darwen Vale High School have their bags packed and are basecamp-bound. Photo by Darwen Vale High School (@DarwenVale on Twitter)

 

 

LANDMARK SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS 2
28th July

“…I tell everyone who will stop long enough to listen where I’m going, and why, and how excited I am. I am nervous, too – there’s a 60-70-litre backpack that I need to be strong enough to carry, we’re going to be living off of ration packs (which are an excellent novelty but I’m told that wears off) and there are going to be challenges that I haven’t even thought of yet. I do know, though, that I will be supported by British Exploring Society Leaders throughout all of those challenges, and that ultimately I am going to be a stronger, more resilient, more self-confident person because of this Expedition. I know this because those things have already started happening. I can’t wait to continue my journey with my new friends and to make memories that will last a lifetime.”
– Young Explorer Leo

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
26th July

Happy travels to our Young Explorers on Hartz Scottish Explorers 1 heading to the Scottish Highlands for the first of our 2021 expeditions today!

HARTZ SCOTTISH EXPLORERS 1
25th July

Our Leaders were busy today preparing kit ahead of travelling to basecamp for our first 2021 expedition. Photo by Adventure Leader Jennie Richardson (@jennierichardson76 on Instagram)

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