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CCF Norwegian Expedition 2020

CCF Norwegian Expedition 2020
Karen Smith

The annual cross country ski trip to Norway over February half term has become a firm fixture in the annual CCF expeditions calendar, and is often cited by pupils as among the highlights of their time at the school.  The 2020 expedition was as tough as ever, but another memorable trip.   Assistant Head (Pupils), Richard Salmon describes the experience in his report below,

If your idea of a good holiday is relaxing on a beach then the CCF expedition to Norway probably won’t be your cup of tea. Both physically and mentally demanding, pupils are pushed to their limits in tough and unfamiliar conditions while learning to cross-country ski in uncompromising mountain terrain. The regular army trains in the same mountains, carry the same weight packs and experiencing the same demanding distances of travel – it is no cake walk.

This year we took 26 Fourth Formers to Bykle in the wake of Storm Dennis to experience challenging, but also enormously rewarding, conditions. Heavy snow and blizzards gave the emergency shelter and avalanche routines an extra edge of reality, while deep drifts ensured a degree of comfort on those regular early falls. We practised building different types of snow holes and learnt about using transceivers and other specialist equipment.

The three day expedition, carrying 15KG of kit including shovels and food rations, provided a fitting conclusion to the trip. We were treated to a break in the weather on the middle day, which ensured some spectacular mountain views and an awesome sunset, later followed by a remarkable view of the stars. One night in the snow hole gave an insight into just how wet and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements can get, but certainly added to the genuine sense of achievement on reaching the finish line.

This was without doubt a trip which will live long in the memory and from which much will have been learned. Well done to all those who took up the challenge.