Team Red One cooking at their wild camp after a successful traverse of Foinaven
14 day Expedition Summer Camp
Mountain expedition teams return
Tuesday July 24th 2018
Our four teams arrived back at the Adventure School at around midday today after a few challenging days in the mountains.
The teams went through the process of expedition preparation during the day on Sunday, looking at the tents, stoves and rations and packing their expedition rucksacks. We left the Adventure School in two waves shortly after four o’clock on Sunday afternoon. A short vehicle shuttle took us to the start of the track into the old stone stables at ‘Lone’ where we ate supper in the field kitchen before heading on into the cloud and drizzle to gain some height.
The four teams, three attempting a Foinaven traverse, and the fourth tackling Arkle, had reached their respective wild camps by about nine o’clock in the evening, now high in the cloud with a gusting wind adding to the challenge of pitching tents for the first time.
It was a wild and damp night and whilst the forecast for the following day was drier, we expected to be in the cloud for much of the main mountain day. The mountain expedition is supposed to be challenging, to stretch the young people on the course, in a way that they may not yet have experienced. Monday was certainly that challenge. Neither mountain is easy on a good day, but it was wild, windy and wet in the cloud as the Foinaven teams wove their way along the ridge, scrambling down into the Pass of the Bellowings, and climbing out again around the Black Tower towards the summit at Ganu Mor.
On the other side of the glen the Arkle team were picking up the same weather as they left their camp pitched, and climbed to the summits without the weight of tents and stoves. The two summits are linked by a narrow crescent shaped ridge which requires extra care and some attentive team work. From the second summit they returned to dismantle their camp and drop into the glen below and out of the cloud enroute to Camp Two.
Meanwhile, the Foinaven teams summited within a couple of hours of each other before descending from the ridge and dropping out of the clouds to reveal sweeping views over the west coast… a welcome relief after a day unable to see much more than 50m ahead. Morale rose quickly as the wind eased and the views appeared, a mild euphoria after a really challenging day, knowing that the hardest work was done. As the teams lost height the clouds parted and let through some welcome sunshine as they approached three separate wild camping spots amongst the patchwork of hill lochans and rocky outcrops.
Todays walk out was blessed with sunshine and a warm breeze, quickly drying any damp clothing as the young people covered the final few kilometres to the Adventure School.
After kit faff, unpacking, and showering we all sat down for lunch together with teams sharing stories of challenge and success. We have a really nice bunch with us on the course, all making new friends from other countries. All are well and in great spirits after the mountain expedition.
Lots of photos from the mountain expeditions now posted in an album on our Facebook page.