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CCF Tiger Adventurer Norwegian Expedition
Canford School CCF has been embarking for a number of years on a cross-country skiing expedition to Norway on what is described by all who go, as the toughest and the best trip the school offers. This year saw another twenty four cadets, a fifth of our Year 10s aged 14 to 15, challenging themselves in an alien environment, learning a completely new skill and then testing themselves, often to the limit, physically and mentally. In order to increase the numbers benefiting from this outstanding experience, a further seven cadets from Bradfield College CCF were invited to join the group this year. The life skills learned and personal challenges overcome are all enormously beneficial to each individual’s long-term education, whilst the experience itself will live long in their memories.
This year’s expedition, six days over February half term, took the group to Bykle and Hovden, involved learning to cross country ski before spending three days ski-touring out on the arctic wastes, sleeping in snow holes and covering 35 km carrying rucksacks with survival gear whilst towing a small pulk with the cookers and spare skis on board.
The pupils clearly enjoyed the challenges:
“My favourite part was going off-piste as the snow was really soft, and we had a great snowball fight! I also enjoyed learning to build emergency shelters.”
“The first day of the expedition was amazing and it’s a day I will remember for the rest of my life. The experience to sleep in a snow hole with all of your friends is an amazing experience. We made the snow hole in three hours and at the end of it we all felt exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep - luckily, we had one! It was really rewarding and something that nobody will ever forget.”
“The first day of the expedition was long and nearly all uphill. In the last hour we had a blizzard and a white-out whilst on a very steep slope. It was really tough but the sense of achievement and relief when we got to the hut was great.”
“The second day was my favourite as the weather was lovely and the route mostly flat. Seeing the reindeer was completely surreal and put me in a great mood the rest of the day.”
“It was relieving to finish the expedition going downhill. We started off in a cloud and we couldn’t see where the ground differed from the sky as everything was so white and foggy. We fell down a lot in that part but afterwards it was really fun and it felt so rewarding to see Hovden and the bus, knowing that we made it!”
Expedition leader Lieutenant Colonel Dan Culley commented:
“There were a few good steep climbs but for the most part the skiing was flat along a series of frozen lakes surrounded by white vistas in all directions. The weather was, for the most part, very kind allowing the group to enjoy the spectacular landscapes one finds in this extraordinary place. To see a full moon set on distant snowy hills just as the sky and the snow all around was turning pink with the sunrise was a real treat. Another stroke of luck came our way too, with a spectacular, and in one group's case, a very close view of a huge herd of reindeer thundering across the snow whilst they were skiing across a frozen lake. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this another very full and successful trip with lots of new experiences.”
- Co Curricular