“After the expedition I really do feel that I have a greater sense of self-confidence. The expedition has made me happy with who I am and confirmed the journey I want to embark on.”
My name is Nye. I am 17 years old and from North London.
From a very young age I grew up watching documentaries about nature and all its breath-taking beauty. This is a passion I shared with my older brother, who has gone on to get involved in many nature and conservation projects. Living in London I was lucky to have the benefit of being able to access places like the Natural History Museum where I found myself captivated by the adventure and mysteries of our world. Although I am lucky enough to live in a part of London that has lots of green spaces, living in a big city can mean it is hard to connect with the natural world as there is always something in the hustle and bustle that reminds you of the impact of mankind.
As I have grown up, this has increasingly created a desire in me to be detached from civilisation and the drama of everyday life for a period of time.
This is where British Exploring Society (BES) came in. My brother was asked to promote BES on his twitter account and saw that what BES did was right up my street. I checked out the website and was almost in disbelief at the expeditions and opportunities that BES offer. I leaped up at the idea of an expedition and eagerly expressed interest in the Hartz 1 Scottish Young Explorer’s trip.
For my fundraising, with the help of my dad I was able to come up with the idea of selling homemade curries to friends and families. My dad – who is of Indian heritage – helped me with this and we even created some branding going by the name of Babuhira – which is my grandparents names. This helped me to feel connected to my grandparents and Indian roots as well as raising the money I needed for the trip. My fundraising tips to future young explorers would be to think outside the box and use connections of friends and family to help where you can.
In May I was invited to attend the training weekend for my expedition. This was an extremely vital event as it gave me an opportunity to meet my peers and helped me to form a bond between them. I got a good sense of what the expedition would be like and the incredible achievements of some of the leaders. As a result of this I was able to learn how to carry someone on a mountain in case of an emergency and other skills such as how to remove a tick.
Going into the expedition I was nervously apprehensive but was excited by the opportunities soon to come and comforted in the knowledge that I would be in a place with stunning nature. I think it is very normal to feel nervous, but just remember that you have a unique and remarkable opportunity to look forward to, which will live with you for a very long time.
It felt surreal to arrive at base camp for the start of the expedition. It seemed that I had been teleported from busy London to a remote landscape away from all of my daily routines and normality. It truly is quite unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I loved that aspect. The expedition gave me a chance to reflect on my feelings and helped me set goals for myself whilst on the expedition. Socially it was very engaging as I was able to meet lots of people with different experiences broadening my perspective on life in general.
From a wildlife and nature standpoint it was even more fantastic as I was able to see elusive species such as beavers as well as ospreys and eat rare cloudberries.
There were highs and some lows during the expedition. I felt at my lowest point when I missed my friends and family back at home, however through speaking to my leaders and a few of my campmates I was able to overcome this feeling and turn it into something productive. The highs were plenty. My favourite moment was when I set my alarm to wake at 5am so that I could step out from my tent to see the sunrise perfectly reflected by Loch Tay – it was a brilliant reflective moment to enjoy by myself away from all the usual hustle and bustle of life. I also really enjoyed waking up early in the morning with two other campmates to go and see beavers swimming across a river to a dam. These moments were phenomenal and will provide lifelong memories, as well as achieving the goals I had set for myself for the expedition, so I had a real sense of accomplishment and was on a massive high. My favourite activity of the expedition had to be the canoeing trip. This is because it felt like I was actually on an adventure, we found wood to sustain and warm ourselves, we discovered waterfalls and worked as a team to paddle. I felt like an explorer.
The last stage of the expedition was the scientific phase. With the guidance of my knowledge leader, Rachel I was able to conduct my own scientific/ geographical experiment in investigating the difference between biodegradable, non-biodegradable and simple soap in altering phosphate and pH levels in Loch Tay. This came back with some unexpected results (biodegradable soap had higher phosphate levels produced than alternatives) I wrote this down in a mini scientific support report. This was a highly rewarding experience and I intend to write about it in my personal statement for my UCAS application.
After the expedition I really do feel that I have a greater sense of self-confidence. The expedition has made me happy with who I am and confirmed the journey I want to embark on. I felt as though I could see my goals more clearly making me want to go on more expeditions in the future. On top of this I am even engaged in geographical dilemmas facing the world, which has made me more motivated to succeed in my studies and pursue a Geography degree. I would also like to highlight the role of the excellent leaders and my fellow campmates for all the great conversations that helped me build these insights.
I think the great thing about British Exploring Society is the opportunity for people from lots of different backgrounds to get together and experience the beauty of nature and outdoors, offering the resources and knowledge that can be hard to access.
If you have passion for the outdoors or like the thrill of discovery, I would urge you to go on an expedition. It is a uniquely rewarding experience that you will remember forever.