Friday 25th to Sunday 27th November 2016
Dropped off in the dark at 7.30pm at Newmill to have a short walk to our destination for the night. On the side of a farm track we found the small area beside a river to be our campsite. Split into our tent groups to put up our tents in as little time as possible in the dark was a challenge but we set up camp in no time. Soon after, we boiled water for hot drinks in our trangias due to the weather giving us below freezing temperatures. As it was so cold and dark we decided for us to go to sleep with quiet at 10.30pm.
With hardly any sleep due to the temperatures dropping to around -7 and the sound of the river it was finally time to get up at 6.30am to have breakfast that we brought and to boil water for hot drinks. Following this it was time to pack up our tents and campsite for a morning hike to the next destination. In the process of walking to the car to put the tents and tangias in the boot we noticed Ron’s (training team) car stuck in the ford and having to be pulled out by a tractor. Walking to Hawick from Newmill took around three hours as we took a detour across the hills to take a visit to the monument made in remembrance of Nan Lyle. We then came onto the A7 and followed the road to the old parish church hall in Hawick where we found the warmth of the heaters and could put all our bags down. Following that we were able to sit down and our lunch.
Furthermore, after lunch we were out into three groups for us to complete three activities, each took around 30minutes. One activity was taking place in the kitchen to learn basic Spanish, by Mairi (leader). We learnt numbers up to ten and to say hello etc. Following this we went into the small hall at the back to go through the golden rules which the group had created earlier in the year. Moreover, the final activity was a fitness session (circuit training) involving shuttle runs, skipping, burpees, step ups etc. for one minute each. Once the activities were finished the whole group came together to go over the golden rules we created, we ended up spending the whole time going over one rule; Alcohol.
At 3.00 we were split into groups of ¾ people and had to create an 80th birthday party for a granny with a budget of £5000. We had to organise the event and given a list of everything with a price on, such as the destination, drinks, food, guests, decorations and presents for granny. This activity taught us how to budget your money as in Bolivia we will need to be tight on money.
Repeating the theme of budgeting, at 4.00 we were told by the leaders that we had 6 guests arriving at 7.00 who were expecting a fun-filled evening organised by the venturers. We were put into groups to complete a separate task; there was a cooking team, decoration team and an entertainment team and we all had to budget our money to support the evening with £210. Two people from each team to go in front of the leaders to attempt to receive as much of the £210 as they could get for their group. With this, the cooking team took a trip to Sainsbury’s, the decoration team went to B&M bargains and the entertainment team called their parents to bring in their musical instruments. The cooking team had to create a 3 course meal with the starter having to contain the Bolivian flag colours (green, red, yellow) and the dessert containing the Scotland flag colours.
The guests arrived at 7.00 and were taken to their seats. The tables were laid out in a horseshoe shape with white table cloths and glitter sand sprinkled over. The back table had tinsel round the chair for the guests. The evening began with a parent reading allowed ‘Tam O Shanter’. The poem finished and platters were put on the tables containing a mix of cheeses and gluten free oatcakes (to meet the need of gluten free), salmon and lemons, and green and red and yellow peppers to meet the requirements of the Bolivian colours. The main was served, consisting of a potato curry and rice, with naan bread and coriander to suit the needs of the vegetarians.
Between the main and dessert we had the entertainment team. There was a quiz consisting of questions from past expeditions and to Bolivia, each corner in the room was numbered 1-4 as the questions were multiple and we had to go the corner which we thought was the correct answer. Joseph then played the bagpipes and Alex on the drums, then a piano piece from Joseph, an accordion piece from Harris and a second tune from Harris while the rest of us danced the Gay Gordon’s. Moreover, the dessert was served containing chocolate fudge cake with blueberries and cream to fit the Scotland colours. However, there were two gluten free cupcakes. Overall, the evening seemed to be a success.
The guests left at 9.40pm which left us all to clear up the hall and kitchen so it was the way it was before. Luckily this did not take long due to everyone mucking in. Following this, the leaders went off to have a meeting in the small hall beside the kitchen while the venturers had to settle down for the night. Did we though? For once, the venturers were not required to get up early and produce breakfast for everyone due to us producing a successful evening, resulting in the leaders having to get up at 6.30am, giving us an extra 45 minutes in our sleeping bags.
Woken at 7.15am on Sunday to get up and have breakfast. The sight of warm cooked food including bacon and porridge was SO exciting. The morning activity for the venturers started at 8.30am and it was to explore Hawick park and note down all the sights and smells that we could. This was great fun and we all enjoyed it as we split into groups and went for a stroll around the park grounds. There were plenty trees and a river and stream flowing in the centre. There was a museum in the centre near the waterfall and walled gardens. This gave us a bit of freedom as all the leaders stayed back at the hall, as it is ‘all about trust’ according to David (chief leader). The weather was a cooler crisp morning but compared to the temperatures the day before it was relatively warm. The venturers met back at the park gates at 10.00 to walk back to the hall, which was a few minutes away. When we got back we had to present our findings to describe to the leaders what the park was like, the leaders had chosen John and Theigan to talk for 10minutes. This activity was to make us describe a place people hadn’t been to before in order for them to picture it in their mind, as in Bolivia we will have to describe what it was like when we come back home to our friends and family such as the landscape, sights and smells.
Following on from this we got together and talked about ideas and catching up on fundraising and sending in the money you fundraise. The cluster groups then got together with their leaders to have a talk about how the fundraising is going and any ideas for group fundraisers or individual fundraising. Lunch was next which included the packed lunch we had brought. The last jobs to do were to tidy up the hall. This consisted of cleaning the kitchen, small hall at the back, the main hall, the bathrooms and mopping and sweeping the corridors. This took us to around 2.10 and we were getting picked up at 2.30 so we sat down and went round saying our highs of the weekend and the lows.
Overall, despite the freezing temperatures the 3rd weekend was a success and the whole group had already bonded and both the leaders and venturers get along so well, which makes the weekends and activities more successful and joyful as we all have a laugh.