Category Archives: Charity News

Climbing 6 peaks for Outward Bound Trust

Snowdon

A few days ago a number of the Go Ape tribe embarked on an adventure in Wales. They took on the peaks of Snowdon to raise money for our Charity of 2015, The Outward Bound Trust.

In the words of Sam Hardy, our Corporate Events Manager, find out all about the highs and lows of this amazing challenge.

“So… about a month ago, I signed up for a challenge to raise money for The Outward Bound Trust. 

We had a chance to hear from the people at The Outward Bound Trust in a recent meeting, and a lot of our Go Ape tribe related to the work that they do. Most of us agreed we’d like to get involved, and, Area Manager Jo, organised 26 climbers (with 4 volunteers on the ground), to go to Wales.

It was advertised as a ‘3 peak challenge’ in Snowdonia over 3 days. It finished for me having completed 6 peaks in 2 days – and a brave few going on to do another climb!

Our charity guru Kim drove us the 5.5 hours to Wales, and we bonded well (to the car seats)!

Day 1 was Snowdon – 1085m

It was fine dry and very sunny. We chose the Pyg track (look it up for info) and took to the hillside like mountain goats. After two minutes, we were advised by our guides to go at a pace where we could walk and talk (in other words – slow down). Ten minutes later we all needed a break and decided to slow it down…

Snow1Rucksacks re-packed, sun cream on, water in hand and many scenic photos later, we reached the summit with a lot of other people who did not look half as sweaty. Turns out there is a train that takes you to the Summit!

So we had a coffee in the cafe, studied the goodies in the gift shop and started the trek down to the campsite.

No-one warned me that the descents were going to be harder than the ascents. I was looking forward to a ‘rest’ and ended up with old man knee issues.

Still, an hour and a half later we arrived at the camp site to see our amazing volunteer monkeys had prepared us a delicious sausage casserole with pasta.

Tents up, a quick debrief and it was time to hit the sleeping bags for 3-4 hours of sleep and 3-4 hours of fidgeting. Standard, apparently.

Day 2 – 07:30: 8 or 9 hours today, bring lots of water, we’re doing 5 peaks

What? Say again? 5? Murmurs of confusion, but general acceptance and an air of excitement.

For those of you that know your hilltops; We managed Elidir Fawr, Crib Goch, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan! 24k (walking) and about 2000m of ascent in total . . .

We left the first campsite at 9am and arrived at the new camp at 9pm. For those that have short memories, we were told 8-9 hours…

But it was the most amazing 12 hours – we all had personal missions, I got to find out about most others, but mine was to raise the individual £200 donation target and complete the challenge.

Day 1 did not prepare me for day 2. Snowden was hard work, but the sun was out and we were all fresh.

Day 2 was a lot cloudier, cooler, wetter and twice as long, with 5 separate summits!

We had 2 dogs with us and many experienced guides. Chief trackers were Rich Cooke, without whom, we could not have gone ahead, and Drew from our site at Dalby.

We also had Ben from GR (with Doug the dog), and Tess with 2 of her 3 sons Seb, and Simon who have been to Snowdonia many times before.

The Chief Gorilla (and his dog Rummy) was also on board to bring his usual blend of motivation and leadership.

Once I’d got over the wet feet at hour 1, and realised this was going to be tough, I became quite nervous, and quite introspective.

Snow2I had blisters forming from day 1 and the creaky knee was a concern. But morale did improve at the first summit. Then the weather turned – visibility, and temperature reduced – precipitation increased.

We came across a few lost souls, and Rich pointed them in the right direction. He also taught me a few map reading techniques, and that eased some fear of getting lost!

After the jitters on summit 2, I was thinking it couldn’t get worse, but at Summit 3, I was ready to get off the mountain. A bizarre dread of heights kicked in, a fear I wouldn’t make it. The trench foot (damp feet), plus dodgy knee and soggy gear were looking like insurmountable issues.

A quick look around, and a couple of chats revealed I wasn’t alone, but then a collective determination kicked in…

3 peaks down, 2 to go was actually half way. We were already ‘over the hill’. We were on the home straight. . .

Peak 4 was a proper rock climb, and quite soon after the 3rd so the power of positivity really kicked in. A few brave souls stood on The Cantilever (Attached Pic) and then there were people singing various hits from musicals and hits through the ages. Hakuna Matada was my personal favourite. (It means ‘no worries’)

Somehow, the steepest, rockiest, most slippery and worst downhill part of the day seemed a breeze. With fears receding, and knowledge that camp was a couple of hours away, we skipped up Tryfan and back. We then embarked on the long walk home.

It was on this walk, which was as tough as any of the descents, that the period of reflection kicked in.

I’ve done this once, but the people at The Outward Bound Trust (OBT) do this all the time, with groups of Young People less fortunate than ourselves.

I feared for my life, wished to be home, promised to be more grateful, realised what was important, and wanted to get back and put this positivity to good use.

This is why it is important to help support the OBT, to help all the participants return to civilisation with a renewed sense of purpose, and faith in fellow humans.

Ironically, if we all connected a little more with nature, animals, and each other – we may not need organisations like the OBT.

Until then, you can donate here, and help reconnect a few more young people that have had a poor start to life on Earth. . .”

Please add to our £40,000 fund raising target this year by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/GoApe2015 and help young people from all walks of life develop through outdoor activities.

For more on the amazing work they do please visit: www.outwardbound.org.uk

Meet the Tribe: Clair’s Adventures with the Outward Bound Trust

The_Outward_Bound_Trust

This week Clair Fowler, one of our wonderful Area Managers, gave us a first-hand look into an adventure with The Outward Bound Trust. Read on to find out more about her journey as an Ambassador;

“Last weekend I volunteered as an Ambassador on an Outward Bound course, mentoring some young people on their trip away.

Arriving at Aberdovey in Wales I was taken by the beauty of the small seaside location surrounded by the hills and the excellent facilities provided by The Trust’s centre. Having been shown around I was invited to sit in the instructors briefing and was impressed with the amount planning that takes place to make sure the course meets the learning needs of each group.

56 pupils from Top Valley School arrived around lunchtime. They were then split into groups of 10 or 11 and allocated an instructor who would be with them for the whole weekend. I was working with Andy and 10 quite lively 15 year old boys.

The weekend was busy, fun and challenging. Starting with the Jog and Dip – a short run and dunk in the estuary in shorts and t-shirts (no wetsuits!) we then took part in a wild camp, walking, high ropes, team games and, finally, the jetty jump. Classroom activities reinforced what had been learned during the activities.

Camping with the Outward Bound Trust

The youngsters found all of these activities very challenging emotionally as well as physically as none of them had experienced anything like it before. Some were scared of heights, others couldn’t swim. Despite this every member of our group had a go and were well supported. While the activities were fun, the more important aspect of learning was always present in everything we took part in – encouraging the team to work together and support each other, building confidence and leadership skills and, most importantly for our group, listening and showing respect to others. I would not have thought the individuals in the group would show any improvement in these skills in just one weekend but I was surprised to see a good deal of change as time progressed.

The work that starts at The Outward Bound Centre is then carried on back at school with time to reflect on the trip and build on the students’ experience, so they can continue to develop.

All in all the weekend was hard work physically and emotionally but the rewards were well worth the effort and there were a lot of very fun moments. The Outward Bound Trust do an amazing job for the youngsters that go on their courses. Whilst The Trust doesn’t attempt to fix their lives, they do give them the tools to improve them. This, I think, is much better than a quick fix that doesn’t last.

I would recommend to anyone the value of going along on one of The Trust’s courses as an Ambassador, not just for the satisfaction of seeing the individuals grow over the weekend, but also to learn new skills for themselves. Watching the instructors is an education in personal and team development skills.

I would like to thank the Outward Bound Trust and Top Valley Academy for letting me tag along and be involved in the great work they do.”

Clair Fowler, Go Ape Area Manager

The Outward Bound Trust

Outward Bound Trust

Outward Bound Trust LogoThis year we are proud to be supporting The Outward Bound Trust, an educational charity that uses the outdoors to help develop young people from all walks of life.

The Outward Bound Trust takes 9-24-year-olds out into the mountains, lakes and wild places of Great Britain to give them a chance to learn through adventure.

With five residential centres across the UK from Scotland to Wales, each Outward Bound course is unique. They aim to change how young people think and feel about themselves and their lives, by building their personal, social and emotional skills at critical times in their education and transition into employment.

This is done through running adventurous and challenging outdoor learning programmes that equip young people with valuable skills for education, work and life. Helping them become more confident, more effective and more capable at school, college and in the workplace.

Please add to our fund raising this year and help young people from all walks of life develop through outdoor activities.

Please add to our £40,000 fund raising target this year by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/GoApe2015 and help young people from all walks of life develop through outdoor activities.

For more on the amazing work they do please visit: www.outwardbound.org.uk

 

7 Things Ranulph Fiennes Has Taught Us

Ranulph Fiennes - Great British Explorers

Sir Ranulph Fiennes…what a hero!

He’s been dubbed the ‘world’s greatest living explorer‘ by Guinness Book of World Records and we couldn’t agree more. It’s fair to say he’s achieved quite a lot during his lifetime and, as he celebrates his 71st birthday on the 7th of March, we’re certain that retirement is still a long way away.

In fact, next month Sir Ranulph will attempt to complete the gruelling Marathon de Sables in Morocco, with the aim of raising £2.5 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Known as the ‘toughest footrace on Earth,’ the six-day ultramarathon will see participants running 156 miles across the Sahara desert in 50C heat. We can’t say we’re envious of him.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a true legend and there are many things we can all learn from Britain’s best-loved explorer…

1. Age doesn’t matter

You don’t need to be young to be adventurous! If Sir Ranulph has taught us anything, is that age is nothing but a number. Five years ago he became the oldest Brit to climb Mount Everest, and now he’s taking on a 156 mile marathon aged 75. So long as you’ve got that thirst for adventure, it will never go away.

2. The best adventures are shared adventures

Sir Ranulph has carried out many adventures with a partner in tow. He went on eight huge expeditions with his late wife to try and find the Lost City of Ubar. They found it in 1992, after beginning the search in 1968.

If you’re more of a lone adventurer, that’s OK too. But, there’s something great about sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences with someone by your side.

3. Being adventurous inspires others

You can use your adventurous side to inspire others, whether they are your friends, family, or complete strangers. Sir Ranulph’s expeditions have inspired others to be more adventurous: rugby player Richard Parks, for example, has recently conquered the highest peaks in all the world’s continents and poles in record time. His inspiration? Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

4. Adventure is the best medicine

So, you’re feeling a little under the weather, you want to stay in bed this weekend and not go out. In 2003, Ranulph Fiennes ran seven marathons in seven days in seven continents – just three and a half months after a huge heart attack and a double bypass operation.

Instead of lying there feeling sorry for yourself, get out and do something – you’ll feel much better for it.

5. Being adventurous makes you interesting

It’s true. We can’t get enough of Sir Ranulph Fiennes. We watch him on TV, we listen to him on the radio, we read his books (of which he’s published more than 20). Traveling the world makes you interesting, there’s no doubt about it.

6. You can use your adventurous streak to do great things

After completing next month’s ultra-marathon, Sir Ranulph will hope to have raised a staggering £20 million for charity during his career. Why not use your adventurous side to do something that really makes a difference?

Check out Charity Choice for more ways to give back to your community.

7. Adventure makes you wise

You are guaranteed to learn many things during your travels, through the people you’ll meet, the places you’ll visit, and through your own personal experiences. You’ll learn a lot about life, but also a lot about yourself. In a recent interview, Sir Ranulph was asked what he’s learned during his travels and he replied: “God made people with two ears and one mouth, so you do a lot better if you listen before you open your mouth.” Hear, hear!

So, are you ready for your next adventure? Start this weekend by booking yourself a trip to one of our Go Ape tree-top courses!

PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Salter

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