Thursday 19th March 2009 by C. Freeman
Students who are going on an arduous expedition to Peru have undertaken a practice trip involving camping and miles of hiking across muddy, damp terrain. As well as allowing expedition organisers to assess the students' equipment and fitness levels, the weekend in Derbyshire was also a team-building exercise.
The students, who are from three different year groups, were accompanied by teachers Miss Watts, Mr Nicholls, and a guide from World Challenge who gave advice about the challenges they may face.
Mr Nicholls said: 'Every so often he would stop and deal with something else, like malaria, or altitude sickness, looking after your feet, personal hygiene and carrying water … Everyone is so excited about the expedition now. It's the first time it's started to feel real.'
The students were split into working parties with each team being responsible for tasks, such as cooking, washing up and clearing the campsite of any debris. They hiked miles across the Derbyshire countryside carrying full rucksacks weighing up to 30 kilos each. They also took turns to act as leader as in Peru each of the students will have a stint leading the party, being responsible for route-planning, managing the budget, booking accommodation and organising meals.
Mr Nicholls said: 'They arrived at the practice camp as a group of individuals and they came back as a team. Dinner on the first night was cooked in pitch blackness and the cooking team came up with a nourishing meal for 24 people. They were given a budget of £2.50 a head for the entire weekend and we had biscuits to spare!'
Miss Watts said: 'It was really quite hard and any doubts that we might have had about the students' abilities to do this over the four-week period in Peru have completely been washed away. They all took the lead, they all took responsibility, no-one moaned, everyone was really positive through the wet, the dark, the cold, the wind, the hills, the constant walking with all the kit on their backs. They were superstars.'