Peru 2003

The destination for the 2003 Summer expedition will be the fascinating South American Country of Peru. Peru
is simply magnificent in every respect providing a limitless choice of expedition projects amongst some of the
most spectacular and challenging environments to be found anywhere in the world.

The ancient civilisations who have inhabited Peru over the past 9000 years have left a legacy which is unequalled;
the Country is bursting with archaeological sites, monumental ruins, pyramids, ancient tombs and of course the
mythical Inca “lost city” of Machu Picchu.

The Peruvian
people are friendly, hospitable and extremely genuine, rich in folklore and tradition offering a unique opportunity
for a valuable cultural exchange. Many areas are extremely poor with a strong third world aspect where carefully
organised and sensitive community based projects could be undertaken to the benefit of all concerned.

The Country has one of the greatest bio-diversities to be found anywhere in the world. It has dry arid deserts
along the coastal areas, the snow covered Andes in the central area with many peaks over 20.000ft, and the jungles
of the Amazon basin on the East of the Country. There are an abundance of active volcanoes, hot springs and glaciers
coupled with the deepest canyons in the world and the highest sand dunes. It also offers the magnificence of Lake
Titicaca &endash; the highest navigable lake in the world and home to indigenous tribes who inhabit the lake on floating
Islands. The potential to undertake an adventurous project knows no bounds with trekking, climbing, mountain biking,
horse riding, white water rafting, kayaking, and jungle exploration all possible.

Venturing into the tropical jungle to conduct an environmental based project or studying the equally unique
environment of the cloud forest would be a worthy challenge for any group. Projects involving the thousands of
archaeological sites and ancient ruins scattered around the Country would prove fascinating. Working with the indigenous
tribes of the Amazon or those situated on Lake Titicaca would be a humbling experience and one that would last
a lifetime.

There
is no doubt that this Country has a huge amount to offer and will prove to be an excellent choice for our 2003
expedition.

Allan S.R. McGee will be the Chief Leader of Peru 2003 following his election by the membership at the last
BEG meeting. Over the next few months a Leader Team will be selected and installed, then the selection of the Venturers
will take place.

The application forms for Leaders will be made available in January &endash; no qualifications are required but you
must be over 18 with a good appreciation for the outdoors and the ability to work and communicate well with young
people.

The venturer application forms will be made available in Feb \ March. All applicants for both Leaders and Venturers
will be required to undertake a selection procedure.

If you want more Information about Peru, you can get more information from these Web Sites. They give much more
information than we can give here, and as you can see, we’ll be spoiled for choice. One of the the hardest tasks
for the Peru leader team may be selecting the areas to go to, there is simply so much available.

Culture Focus – Peru

World Travel Guide – Peru

 

Leader Selection Weekend – A Participant’s Viewpoint

Letters had landed on doormats at various addresses the previous week inviting unsuspecting individuals to attend
a leader selection weekend at Yair Bridge. These assorted individuals arrived from all corners of the borders and
beyond to share the experience. Making up this group were 12 potential leaders, Allan McGee the chief leader and
3 trainers. After initial introductions, made with the help of games with balloons (just don’t ask!) we were set
our first task. In 2 groups we had to design, build and sell a pyramid to the “She Inca”. The lengths to which
we would stoop to try to ensure that the almighty She Inca would choose our particular design had to be seen to
be believed! One group managed quite an impressive design which, amid a fanfare, was lowered to floor level. Clare
has obviously missed her vocation in life – the word regal is hardly adequate to describe her performance! As for
Alan and Vicki – they looked quite fetching in their glamorous attire and matching headgear!

Before finding a space on the floor to roll out our sleeping bags we organised ourselves into groups for duties
on Saturday. Heads were buzzing with anticipation of what Saturday would have in store but before long we were
all trying to sleep despite the cacophony of gentle (and some not so gentle) snoring! This peaceful state was ruined
by the sound of a siren wailing somewhere just too close by! Two seconds later everyone was up and trying, in various
states of undress, to evacuate the hall! What sadistic person planned this I wonder? Luckily the Inca Gods were
smiling on us because as we removed EVEYTHING from the building there was not a spot of rain – cold but no rain.
Before being allowed back to the warmth of our sleeping bags we were given a paper of 10 logical questions to answer.
I ask you – who can be logical at 3.30 am? We did our best!

Three hours later the breakfast team was up and preparing our first communal meal. By 8.30 we had been briefed
on the day’s activities and were ready for almost anything. Having put on blindfolds as requested we were dropped
off into the unknown. Throughout the day we had various tasks to perform. The first was to make our way to a map
reference where the task was to build a raft to allow a precious object and a message to cross the river. There
followed discussions about how sturdy and stable this craft would be. Without too much difficulty ropes were lashed,
knots were tied, lines were thrown and both items reached the safety of the other side. Our raft had to be carried
to the next point where barrels of water had to be filled from a stream and then raised with the aid of pulleys
to the top of the incline. Sounds simple enough? Now consider the weight involved and it becomes quite a challenge!
The team really worked well together and although the barrels of water remained well and truly down at stream level
the exercise was a good insight into the workings of the group. After this we headed to our next map ref where
the thought of lunch lured us smartly onwards. Lunch, build a fire, cook pancakes, compose a song and build a human
structure! Yes we could all rise to the challenge. Suitably revived we headed with a spring in our steps to the
next rendezvous point where we were supplied with an odd assortment of articles and asked to make up a game. The
ingenuity of this lot knows no bounds! Games were devised and played – much to the amusement of the onlookers!
The next scenario saw us have to locate and rescue a casualty who then had to be carried on a stretcher to the
top of the Three Brethren. Phew! Physically this was a very demanding task. I would never have believed that the
slip of a girl who had the misfortune to fall, weighed two and a half tons! As the sun was going down we had five
minutes solitude to reflect upon the days activities. Before leaving the summit we sang the songs composed during
our lunch stop – all that can be said here is that the musical talents of the groups varied widely! Our task to
contemplate during our descent was the preparation of a banquet for everyone present plus two honoured guests.
Much discussion took place regarding content, entertainment and creating the ambience of a banquet in a converted
saw mill! Time was of the essence as it was 6ish when we returned and our guests would arrive at 8pm! Shoppers
were dispatched while others set about creating table decorations, hats, bow ties and menus while another group
scoured Selkirk for music, crockery and cutlery – not a tin mug in sight at this banquet! Inspired by the thought
that we were a like minded group of individuals we set to. The evening was a resounding success and enjoyed by
everyone. Hidden talents were displayed, have been noted and willed be called upon in the future!

By midnight never has the thought of sleeping on a concrete floor seemed so appealing! Seven hours uninterrupted
sleep! Bliss! Sunday morning dawned and after the rigors of Saturday we had been promised a physically less challenging
day. A gentle walk and talk was followed by group presentations on relevant Peruvian subjects. These talks were
informative and entertaining -we learned about the Inca Empire, about El Nino, about fitness for the expedition
and we even had a crash course in Spanish! Our sharing lunch on Sunday proved what we all know. Everyone carries
too much food -just in case!

As we prepared to leave we said our farewells not knowing who would be there at the first leaders meeting, but
knowing, no matter what, we had experienced a weekend that we will all remember. Our thanks go to the Training
team and everyone else who contributed to the success of the weekend.

PERU 2003 Leader Team

Name Responsibility
Allan McGee Chief Leader
Nancy Anderson Fund Raising Co-ordinator
Community Phase Research
Cath Baker Fund Raising Co-ordinatorSocial Phase Research
Chris Clifford TreasurerParent Liaison

Environment / Science Research

Gordon Dalglish EquipmentAdventure Phase Research
Christine Duncan Parent Liaison
Social Phase Research
Emma Fletcher Adventure Phase Research
Charles Hutchison SafetyEnvironment / Science Research
Jenny Ozwell Environment / Science Research
Ron Sutherland TravelCommunity Phase Research

 

 

PERU 2003 Venturers

Area Venturers
Hawick Christine AndersonHannah Brown

Rosanne Deas

Samuel Hornsby
Kirsten McKay

Iain Manson

Thomas Ogilvie

Clare Richardson

Catriona Ritchie

Richard Taylor

Selkirk Katy ClayRachel Clifford

Rowena Miller

Hannah Pavey

Margaret Russell

Melrose Alexander LyalPadraig Canavan
Kelso Gordon ClarkThomas O’Driscoll

Rosie Stewart

Peter Sutherland

Earlston\Lauder Rhona HamiltonNichola Telford
Jedburgh Laura Nisbet
Galashiels Sara McLennan

 

Training Weekend 1 – August 30/31 and September 1

Friday Night 30th August

We all arrived in Selkirk on Friday night, not quite sure what to expect for our first Peru training weekend, especially since we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time. However, it didn’t take long to get into the swing on things as we all had a chance to catch up on the bus journey to St Mary’s Loch. As soon as we arrived at Cappercleugh hall, we were given a quick briefing from Alan Young about our activities for the night and were put into our groups, although it was a bit of a disappointment to see that I had been missed off the list – unlucky. We then went round the four activities for that evening, our first being the equipment check, where a lot of people panicked when they realised that yes, cooking utensils did in fact include bowl and plate, and not just cutlery! Next we had route cards with Claire, followed by mapping with Ron, which included a very interesting and informative geography lesson. Lastly Rob took us through the joys of using a compass, although by this time it was so late, that none of us actually took in anything. We were supposed to do fun games after this but since it was now so late, we bypassed these and decided just to go to bed, although I’m not sure that we all slept that well, as first we were woken up by Chris banging his elbow off the stage, then by ‘someone’ snoring loudly all night. Hmm, I wonder who.

By Rosie

Saturday 31st August

An early start for all of us this morning (and even earlier for the leader team who hadn’t quite mastered how to set their alarm clock !!) We were up and ready in no time at all and were all very hungry so looking forward to breakfast which the leader team had kindly prepared for us. We all got stuck into our porridge and sausages in a roll and then the leader team generously offered to wash up for us too! But they also warned us this was not always going to be the case, but we all very much appreciated it. So thank you!

After breakfast was tidied away we split into our 4 groups again to work round various activities and talks which included a health and hygiene talk, stoves, safety and practicing boiling water, health tests which included measuring our rapid heart rates after an exhausting 5minutes of step ups and finally, circuit training which included a short run and other fitness activities. By now we were all ready for our lunches which consisted of the sandwiches or rolls which had been squeezed into our bags (Chucks especially looked like nothing to be desired!) and were now slightly less appetising than they had been when first made.

Our stomachs filled and backpacks bulging with the extra food rations for that nights tea, we set off on our way to the bivvy site where we were told we would be setting up our own shelter and cooking our meal and all this had to be done by 8pm!

The shelters seemed to be taking shape well and everyone was really quite excited about the night’s activities, which up till now had been kept a secret from us all. The food was prepared in record time and everyone enjoyed the really quite fancy three course meal which was presented (well in our group it was a two course meal as the soup got added into the pasta and re-named by Tom as Poup – half soup half pasta! Sounded bad but tasted great.)

We were then set the task of writing ourselves a letter, which would be sent to us while we were in
Peru all about our expectations of the trip and what we hoped to achieve for ourselves through going. This time proved to be very thought provoking and relaxing and allowed each of us to really think for ourselves for a little while. So off we all went to our own little space in the heather and ferns on the hill and wrote ourselves a letter.

It was about 9:20 when we then got told our next activity of the day would be gorge walking! Everyone was really excited about the concept of gorge walking, but also a bit apprehensive about doing it in the near pitch dark, but soon this apprehension wore off as we all started up the gorge and realised how good a group we had and that they were there to give us a helping hand over tricky bits or guide us where to step with our feet. Once at the top of the hill and free of the gorge you really did feel a great sense of self-achievement. The nicest bit for me was being back at the bivvy site again, sipping on my hot chocolate and looking up to the very clear starry sky- ahh!

Then it was off to bed and everyone was out for the count after such an amazingly fun and tiring day.

By Laura

Sunday 1st September

We all woke up to glorious sunshine in our bivvys where we were surprisingly warm and dry. After quickly dismantling them, we went for breakfast, although the porridge didn’t quite live up to the standards of the day before. Then we were issued with our walks for the day, though group 1 didn’t exactly look pleased with their route, as while everyone else had a nice easy stroll round the loch (and passed the ice-cream shop) they had to battle up over the hills, with only 17 minutes scheduled stop for lunch. I’m sure it was worth it for the views though. My group, reject group 4, made good time even though we stopped to practice our navigational skills on a few of the laag (that’s leg for everyone apart from Clare) , but still had time to stop for a very tasty ice-cream, which was essential to keep our energy up. At times it was difficult, but when our enthusiasm was ebbing, a Romeo and Juliet quote quickly set us back on track, a real favourite being, “Wisely and slow, they stumble that runs fast.” It’s a good one. Anyway, when we arrived back at the hall, we went over the progress that has been made for our trip to Peru, before hearing a debriefing from Alan. Lastly we cleaned the hall up and Allan McGhee told us the highlight of his trip, that being his night sleeping with Chuck. We all then travelled back to Selkirk, where Hannah B and I realised to out horror, that we don’t have anyone called Don on our trip! Oh no! We were then picked up (Sandy in a great car) just in time for the new series of monarch of the glen, which I’m sure that we all hope Chuck took time to watch, since it is just his type of programme, although I did think it was a bit disappointing on Sunday with no Hector. Anyway.

By Rosie

 

Training Weekend 2 – October 18 – 20

Friday Night 18th October

We all arrived Friday evening at Riddle Estate and after dumping our rucksacks in the nearest barn, we all went into the main hall. Though, we quickly realised that keeping our boots on might not be such a good idea after the leaders told us where we were sleeping that night… But we all settled down and started our informative evening by talking about what problems we could encounter if we set up camp abroad. These included topics such as waste disposal, availability of land, and the impact a group our size might have on a small community socially and economically. We then split off into groups to try and come up with ideas and guidelines to help happy Harry and ourselves to be more environmentally aware and safe. Environmental damage, as we learned, was a big issue for B.E.G. and we all had to try and limit the effects we would have on our surroundings. After the various talks by members of the training team and the leaders, we then set up the hall and prepared for bed. Despite the occasional whisper, snore or mumble in their sleep, or even if you were one of the people who had to sleep out in the entrance way, most people slept quite well after the overload of information we had received that night.

Saturday 19th October

Saturday morning however came quicker than expected, especially if you were in the breakfast-making group, or the volenteers who had to set up the washing facilities. (we should have guessed then how cold it was going to get because the morning was freeeezing). But with the sun coming up and the combination of breakfast and getting equipment sorted out, we all gradually woke up. After a short prep by Ron and his team that had already gone to see the site that morning, we knew the basic layout the campsite was going to take. The short walk there took little time and warmed us all up, so when we arrived we only needed a short rest to plan out where we were going to set up camp. The field was idillic, it was very flat, with a small river running not too far away from where we set up the main marquees. We then split once more into our different groups and set up the main food tent, marquees and toilet tents. As well as digging the wet, dry and toilet pits (with only about three decent shovels) we organized the rendez-vous point and the fire area. Everyone was pleased with the results; it was a well-organized masterpiece. Frankly it was just brilliant. Even the leaders and training team admitted it was a pretty good first attempt at a campsite.

During the afternoon we were split into our groups to take on four tasks. Firstly, Place as many members of your team on one barrel as you can, without touching the ground using only a rope which was tied onto the over-hanging tree. I can’t say that many groups all ended up on the barrel. Next we had to try and throw golf balls into a funnel half way up a tree. Most of the golf ball didn’t go in the funnel but hit Rob instead because the funnel had fallen out of the tree and he had hold it. It was very therapeutic after a long days hard work back at the campsite. Our next task was to try and decipher semaphore, in which Alan split the group in two and gave Peru related words in turn to the different groups. The last activity was push a hay bail round an assault course, blindfolded, while being guided by two people with whistles. In each activity the groups could gamble away currency called Incas. If they succeeded in the task they won back more Incas. These Incas were to later be used to buy sweets from the two-headed Inca goddess, high up in the tower.

Evening came and group one went off into the darkness for the ‘secret evening activity’ whilst groups three and four thought up the entertainment for the night. They also prepared and cooked our evening meal; soup; haggis, neeps and tatties; and sweet little apple pies (custard was an option – not to be taken by many). Group one took a lot longer than anticipated so when they returned, everyone was dying to get supper started. By this time the temperature had definatly started to fall quite dramatically and everyone was so pleased with the food, the main thing was it was warm! As soon as we had all finished group three were off, leaving group two with the washing up, and the rest of us standing around getting cold. It was then the fire was lit and everyone’s morale instantly boosted with the heat. The only problem was when it came to go to bed, it was so hard to turn away and go back to our frosty tents.

Sunday 20th October

The water in the wash basins inside the toilet tents had frozen solid. Temperatures had apparantly been as worse as -9 degrees during the night. And yet still Alan was not cold. So it was decided we should go for a quick jog around the field and play ball games to try and warm up. Worked quite well as everyone soon started to thaw out and join in. The previous night however, groups two and four hadn’t had the chance to go the ‘secret evening activity’ and so went in the morning. The activity however was no longer really a secret and we were to absail down a tower located not too far up a hill from our camp. It’s hard to judge whether this was scarier in the day or the dark but everyone seemed to enjoy the challenge. While some of the venturers were away doing the absailing, the rest started to pack up the camp. We tried to leave no trace as we had been disscussing the Friday evening, and soon the pits were filled in, the tents were all neatly packed away, and the fire had been covered up. We then walked back to the hall and had a short debrief of the weekend that had just seemed to fly by.

Meg and Rachel

 

Training Weekend 3 – December 6th – 8th

Friday Night 6th December

After arriving at the hall, seeing everyone again, after what seemed like a long time, we all still managed to find plenty to talk about. All the girls seemed to want to talk about their dance dresses, this was far more important than the matter at hand! This matter was the health centre we are going to build while we are in Peru. Ron showed us maps and photographs of the area we will be staying in. After this we were put into our groups once again and had to make route maps for the following day, we were to end up at the campsite where we were to stay over night on Saturday. Although I felt that the routes were slightly longer than I had hoped. Once again the dance dresses seemed to be the topic of conversation, can I just say that all the dresses sounded beautiful, and the ones we say were stunning

Late Friday Night / Early Saturday Morning

So, very late on Friday or very early on Saturday we were woken by the screams of Clare as the hall was about to be flooded. Although Clare blew her horn Padraig still didn’t manage to wake up. All our belongings were to be packed into our survival bags, although some of us didn’t realise this. Padraig was still asleep as this was being done, he was evacuated a bit later than the rest of us, helped by members of the leader team.

So back to bed and back to sleep. After the cold this was definitely what we needed

Saturday 7th December

Well breakfast was slightly smaller than we had all hoped, as our porridge did not turn up. That’s enough about that though, the bacon rolls and bananas were lovely and just what we needed to start the hard days walk ahead. Once again we divided into our groups, as we set of on our long, long walk. Some of the walks changed as the track and paths seemed to have disappeared. We all gelled in our groups talking to each other helped us do this. At lunchtime most of us answered the questions handed out at the beginning of the weekend.

Arriving at the camp we all felt a sense of achievement and relief, little did we know that it was to get dark so quickly and we would have to set up camp as soon as we arrived. Camp was set up fairly quickly, and with Chuck was our campsite manager the girls toilet tent was up to its usual standards.

After camp was set up the meal was to be prepared. Soup of the day to start followed by homemade pasta, beans and pepper tossed in a tomato sauce, a glass of white wine was all that was missed with this dish, it would have been a warming addition to the meal. Desert seemed to go down a treat with lovely, sticky flapjacks. Coffee and chocolates soon followed.
As we had all been eating our tea no one had realised that two members of the group had gone missing, Emma and Rob had had a nasty accident. The whole group met with stretchers to decide on a strategy to find the missing persons. A small primary search team was sent out to look for the two missing people, luckily they were found fairly quickly. As practice the remaining people in the group did a line search. Rob was badly hurt and needed a lot of help getting onto the stretcher, Emma on the other hand had a twisted ankle, but needed to be taken on a stretcher because she had gotten so cold. What had seemed like a short walk on the way turned out to be a long one on the way back with a stretcher.

After rescuing Emma and Rob, and bringing them back to the base we were told that we could go to bed now or go and socialise with others in their tents. This seemed like a good time for us as we hadn’t actually had time to do this on any of the other training weekends. Some (Katy) learned how to play ‘Spoons’ taught by Richard and Sam and others just chatted in tents or went to bed.

Sunday 8th December

We awoke bright and early on Sunday, ate some banana rolls and whatever was left from the last supper on Saturday night. All was well on site and there were many happy faces at the thought of the walk back to the hall. There was even rumour of a river crossing! This did not go down well with some people as they had just changed into some nice warm socks and they were their last.

After having taken down the camp and covering the pits we got into our groups and one after another at set intervals we set off on what was going to be a grand walk up hill and over dale!! (Well something like that!) Despite having walked the day before it was surprisingly enjoyable as yet again we had a chance to chat to people and get to know more about the people in our groups. Time passed quickly and a little later we arrived at what seemed like a river… And surprisingly enough we all had to stop and wait for the other groups to catch up, but it was all very pleasant as Cath had the courtesy of bringing some mini packets of sweets for us to feast upon. After five or ten minutes of waiting we were all sitting watching various members of the leader team and even some of us venturers trying to demonstrate a number of techniques as to how we would cross a river. Well the simple answer was to look to the right… Yes waiting for us willingly was a bridge!! But all was not as we had hoped! We did have to walk through the river though a couple of times, showing off how well we could hold on to a pole and wade through water. Once you and a few others were across to the right side you were now allowed to use the bridge and walk back to the hall, which was further than many people had expected! Not a nice experience walking in cold wet socks I can tell you.

Arrival at the hall was a big relief to many people, as food was going to be their main priority. We took off our boots and wet socks and replaced them with dry ones and clean shoes. The leaders wanted us to find poles and pegs, to also put things away and decide what venturers were going to be taking what tents home, but we had other plans!! LUNCH
This didn’t really go down well with the leaders as they gave us a brief talking to about how we should take it upon ourselves to tidy things away and help do this or that. But to be fair up until now we had been told that whatever we did we would be told to do as everything would still be a learning experience for us but the leaders had different ideas. (But lets not go into that now!!) We eventually tidied everything away quickly and efficiently and got down to some serious food eating. After filling our stomachs with squashed sandwiches and rolls we played some games to wind-down from the weekend, with things like port and starboard and dodge ball. This then led onto a de-brief in true B.E.G. style, where we reviewed the weekend, looking at the positive and negative things and ways we could improve things. We each also had to say something about what we thought we had learned from the weekend about ourselves aswell as some strange chicken impressions and jokes! This was highly amusing for us!! Sorry Rosanne

This was definitely one of my most memorable training weekends so far 🙂

Rowena and Rachel

 

Training Weekend 4 – January 2003

Friday Night

We arrived on the Friday night at the rather shnazzay Yetholm Scout Hall, the location for the 4th training weekend. After much excitement, photo swapping and all-round jibbering and gossiping, we finally got round to some hard work (!)- getting the latest updates and finding out it was only 22 WEEKS TO GO! Ohmygawd! We then trampled on each other playing Chinese ladders and set off to bed for a nice, peaceful night’s sleep. Or rather, it would have been if it wasn’t for a certain person sleep-giggling (Hannah…) and a motorbike engine running in the corner. No, sorry, that was Allan.

Saturday

But we woke up refreshed (or not) the next morning to the smell of bacon rolls mmmm…. (and banana+peanut butter for the veggies) and set out on our task we had been set the night before – a study of Yetholm. We split up into our groups and descended on the big city to find out as much as we could about its history, economy, buildings…to practice for our social phase when we’re in Peru. After numerous interviews, pouncing on unsuspecting locals to fill out questionnaires and just general harassing of the townsfolk, we got quite a lot of information. Tom, Catriona+Allan arrived back from their interview up in Edinburgh just in time to see the posters (and a report!) and the wonderful presentations. Did you know…that silver landrovers are the most popular mode of transport in Yetholm? Fact(!) Even Chuck didn’t know that.
And then…we were told about our task for the evening. No, it wasn’t rabbit skinning, rabbit grating (ew) or, in fact, anything to do with rabbits at all. We were to organise an entertainment evening for that night (ahh! We’ve only got 3+a half hrs!) After a super-quick dash to Kelso’s Safeway, sending Rosie home to pick up the necessities (short skirts+lipstick+Enrique) and a mad panic decorating the hall and organising the entertainment, it was all sorted. When the leaders arrived back, we were ready to sit down, put on our (custom-made!)hats+bowties and tuck into the grub. The fandabbydozy chefs (who have now been asked to join the catering team!) whipped up a well impressive four-course meal: sweet+sour chicken, stir-fry veg, cheesecake …and even crackers, cheese+coffee to finish with. Twas rather yummy. And the entertainment was just as good: jokes, Linda’s (?!) poem, singing, dancing, accordianing-and-fiddling, not forgetting the Quattro Amigos’ awe inspiring percussion show. The guys+girls then got into their usual Saturday night attire for a Mr+Miss Peru 2003 competition. Scantily-clad girls sauntered along the catwalk, performing various seductive dances for Allan and Chuck, spoon dropping and boob-popping. Luckily, it was only balloons that were popped and it was, in fact, the guys getting really into the part (and quite enjoying it!) But Jordan won over the judges to be awarded ‘Miss’ and the scarily believable Kevin+Perry stole the show in the ‘Mr’ round. We finished with the brill ‘P-E-R-U’ song (composed by Hannah B +Rosanne) , a sing-song of Auld Lang Syne and then a blast through of ‘alleighluigh, alleighlui….we’re going to Peru’…

Sunday

Sunday morning arrived too soon and we all staggered out of our sleeping bags, the eventful night before still fresh in our minds (slightly too clear a memory for the lovely ‘ladies’ who suddenly realised the number of photos that had been taken). Some more games and then we were off, down the road to the Wauchope Hall for a First Aid Day. We learnt various lifts and drags, learnt about health+hygiene (where we soon began to realise how much there is to think of) but then we were revived by a huge tin of Quality Streets…mmm…chocolate… After lunch, we attacked various dummies (poor Safety Annie+her baby!) + bandaged up fellow venturers and leaders. Although everyone was tired, it was a good fun day, where we all learnt loads (even if it was just to stay away from Gordon if you’re bleeding). It was the end of the funniest and one of the most enjoyable training weekends, and we all went away home still laughing at the thought of the guys in various items of Rosie’s wardrobe. It was good to get to know more about everyone, and to see people in a different light…

Sara

 

Expedition Itinerary

June 2003

24th Tuesday Advanced party (Ron and Jenny).leave Edinburgh [06.30hrs]
25th Wednesday Flight from Lima to Cusco, on to Base Camp, Establish contacts and set up Base
27th Friday evening Arrive at Selkirk High School for 21.30hrsLeave Selkirk by coach for Edinburgh [22.00hrs]
28th Saturday Edinburgh to Amsterdam [06.30] flight.Amsterdam to Lima [11.00] flight Arrive Lima 20.20hrs.

Transfer to Hotel [Overnight]

29th Transfer from Hotel to Airport, Fly Lima to Cusco [0900hrs] arrive 1000hrs, bus transfer to Base Camp at Poma Tales.
Arrive early afternoon and settle in.
30th Set Up & Acclimatise

July

1st Acclimatise and Prepare for Community Phase
2nd Start Community Phase
3rd to 8th Work on Community Phase
9th Rest & Re-organise
10th Start Adventure Phase [Trek out of Base Camp]
11th & 12th Trekking
13th Complete trek – Set up camp in sacred Valley
14th Early train to Aguas Calientes, set up base camp or seek Hostel accommodation. Visit hot spring’s, explore area
around foot of Machu Pichhu.
15th Explore Machu Pichhu – Leave by train late afternoon for Ollantaytambo,
Hostel accommodation.
16th Activity Day Mountain Biking or Horse Riding.
17th White Water Rafting – return to Cusco, Hostel
18th & 19th Rest & Re-organise – Accommodation in Cusco
20th Travel into Rainforest – Coach journey then motorised canoe\rafts to reach Base Camp
21st – 23rd Environmental Phase
24th Last evening spent in Jungle lodge
25th Travel out of Rainforest back to Cusco – Flight. Hostel Accommodation in Cusco
26th Rest day in Cusco – Explore in afternoon
27th Visit traditional Sunday Market at Pisac
28th Train journey to Puno, Hostel accommodation
29th Transfer to docks, Island tour on Titicaca – visiting Floating Islands then on to Amantani for overnight stay with
local families
30th Return to Puno via the Island of Taquile, Hostel accommodation in Puno
31st Coach journey to Arequipa, Hostel accommodation

August

1st Shopping\sight seeing in Arequipa, Hostel accommodation
2nd Fly Out of Arequipa 0900hrs to Lima.City tour of Lima – fly out of Lima at 20.20hrs.
3rd Arrive back at Edinburgh approx 20.00hrsreturn Selkirk around 21.30hrs

 

Reports from Peru

Thursday26th July Advance Party Arrive SafelyRon and Jenny arrived safely and everything looks to be in order. Cusco is beautiful and Maria is well organised,
the health Centre at the community phase location has been started. The master file has been dropped of at the
Consulate.
Monday30th June Main Group also arrived now Ron and Jenny have met up with the main party

The whole group are setting up the base camp

They are quite tired after such an epic journey but very happy

Tuesday1st July A bit more detailWell at last , all here safe and well. The journey was fine, after Edinburgh (nearly didnt get on the flight due
to serious lack of baggage handlers!).

Everyone seemed to enjoy the stop over in Bonaire – cetainly Sara as it was
her 18th birthday – 29hrs long and 4 different countries!

Arrived in Cusco to be met by Ron and Jenny, who seemed very glad to see the group. Maria was also there to meet
us, along with the bus t take us to Pomatales. BY a miracle, all 53 orange bivvy bags made it to Cusco! Only Caths
bag being searched on the way! The flight from Lima to Cusco was certainly worth doing – if only for the thrill
factor! Had terrific views of the Andes, then a steep, banking descent into Cucsco itself – which is just like
all the pictures in the guidebooks.

An hour and half later we arrived in Pomatales, after a steep, winding, cliff edge road — into a fantastic valley
floor. The people of the village were there to welcome us, with a 4 peice band, confetti over our heads, firecrackers
and a dancing display (similar to Morris dancing, but iwth face masks and whips….). The head of the village,
Victor and his family had made us a meal of corn soup and lamb stew. Eventually we were allowed to set up camp
on the football pitch! The locals had made terrific toilet pits and wash areas for us – barely letting us lift
a finger.

The village itself consists of a small school, basketball court, football court, and a handful of houses, all made
from Adobe brick. All around are high mountains, covered in pampas grass, trees and cacti. Young children wander
around, amused by all our goings on, or herding cattle up and down the road (or towards our tents..!). The temperatre
varies greatly – very hot during the day, but once the sun goes down over the mountain it becomes chilly very quickly.
No rain at all yet anyway!

The group spent yesterday (Monday) acclimatising and finishing setting up base camp. It was a relaxing day after
the very long journey. Those who felt up to it went for a small hike up a nearby mountain – the rest of us went
for a walk along the nice flat road! The health centre is already under way, at least 2 bricks high. It is quite
a size, consisting of about 10 rooms – bricks are being made constantly.

Three of us are in Cusco today, Christine, Emma and Rachel, to buy supplies for the group – and do this all important
email. Experiencing the markets here is certainly something!

Note: A reminder to all the families that this email wil be posted on the BEG website and not forwarded to individuals.

Thats all for now – more updates when the next crew are in for supplies!!

The Peru 2003 team.

Thursday
17th July
Community Phase and TrekWork on the health centre progressed very well. the group was split into 3
teams – 2 working on site each day and the third on camp duty. We all had a
go at making the bricks and after they had dried for several days in the sun
they were used in the building. jobs included mixing cement – well really it
was mud and water- fetching and carrying these bricks which most of us
carried in twos but which one or two extra strong members of the tewam
managed to carry alone. Others flexed their muscle pick axing to level off
the mud floor. Hard work but very rewarding to see the height going up each
day.

During our time at Pomatales we had quite a bit of contact with the school.
Groups of 4-6 of us went across to the school at lunchtime and taught the
children some playground games. Much happy laughter was to be heard during
these sessions. Both the team and the children seemed to enjoy themselves.

After we had been there for a week we invited villagers and folks from
surrounding villages to join us in a
lunchtime concert. We invited people to come along to the football pitch
about 11. By 10.30 steams of folks began arriving. In the end we served 110
people with home made soup and bread and performed some Scottish songs and
dances. All this was greatly appreciated. At the end of this we made several
presentations of gifts – again time was spent making translations!
That afternoon a lorry arrived to take us all to Huaracondo where we had
been invited to join in one of their celebrations. The occassion was the
opening of a newly cobbled street. We certainly were the honoured guests –
we were wined, dined and introduced to the Mayor of Cusco! Yes I have to say
here that guinea pig was sampled by quite a few of the team!!!It was a an
interesting afternoon. Quite abusy day to say the least!

For the rest of that week work continued on the building site. Trees were
chopped down and lintels made for doors and windows. Before we left
Pometales we gave all the builders who were helping on the site a pair of
sunglasses and a Peru 2003 tee shirt. There should be some interesting
photographs.
We hope to return to Pometales towards the end of our expedition.
Our last night in Pometales was spent in the school as an early start for
our trek was planned.

We were all very excited about the challenge in store. Horses were laden and
with back packs on we headed to the mountains………….

We have now completed an arduous 4 day trek.

It was certainly challenging for everyone but we were rewarded with some of
the most spectacular scenery at every turn. The highest pass at 4600m (15000
feet) was a monumental task for us all but we are happy to report that we
all made it to the top. It was an emotional experience for us all. Many
photographs were taken. Our Paddington Bear (alias Nancy) must be the most
photographed bear out. The trek more than lived up to our expectations –
food cooked by Victor and his team was superb. The guides were thoughtful
and exceptionally knowledgeable. Also with us were 33 horses and 18 porters
to look after our tents etc.

Travelled by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Callientetes were we visited
the hot spings – communal baths all round!. Also on the same day we had a
trek though the cloud forest and discovered new plants and bird life – it is
certainly making people look forward to the jungle phase.

Yesterday was one of the highlights to date when we visited Machu Picchu. It
was far beyond all our expectations – much bigger and steeper than we had
imagined. Certainly a day that no one will forget. The switchback road to
the top was exciting to say the least.

Today groups are off mountain biking and horse riding. Tomorrow were off
white water rafyting and then it’s back to Cusco.

Until next time

Regards from the team

Sunday
20th July
Just a quick note to say all is still on track and everything is
progressing as planned. The adventure phase passed without incident and it
was very much enjoyed by all. The biking and horse riding went smoothly
with the bikers enjoying a particularly challenging day. On Thursday we
all enjoyed the white water rafting, it was grade 3 and challenged everyone
but the weather was poor and it was extremely cold so that took the edge
off the experience.
Today we have had our Jungle brief and have spent the morning preparing all
our kit. Tomorrow we are off at Six AM to travel into the rain
forest. All the team are in good spirits and thoroughly enjoying this
experience. We will report in next weekend when we return. Hope all is well.

Best Regards

Allan

Monday28th July The JungleThe Update as follows;

Well yet another phase of the Expedition has been completed successfully – all back safe
and well from the depths of the Peruvian jungle (other than scores of bites!!).

Since our last update the group spent 2 days in Cusco for rest and re-organisation before
the environmental phase – shopping has begun in earnest! It was with eagerness but
apprehension we set of early last Sunday morning in 2 buses on the long and treachorous
road to the jungle. We passed several isolated villages, through colourful markets,
dodging the dogs that we kno now are inevtiable in Peru, buying stalls out of their
supplies of coke, chocolate and crisps. If we thought the road to Machu Picchu was
hairy,this one was 5 times worse and lasted for 12hours! No chance of much smooth
driving as the tarmac road ended about 2 minutes outof Cusco…… thereafter dust
and dirt lay ahead of us. We rose up again to 4,000m, down to the lunch stop and the
back up to about 3,600m before finally descending towards the Cloudforest, about
2,000m – producing sounds of awe, and ahh from those gaining their first view of
the clouds spread below us. In true Peruvian travel style, both buses suffered
injuries – flat tyres along the way.

We then descended further into the sub-tropical rainforest, where we finally reached
our destination Pilcopata to stay in lodges for the night. Early next morning we set
off again (only a 30minute bus ride according to our guides…) for the boats that
would take us to our first rainforest community. Naturally, it took longer than 30
minutes and proved a hairier ride than the previous day! Made it to the boats to the
relief of everyone 3 long canoe shaped, covered motor boats were to take us and all
equipment down the Upper Madre de Dios to the community of Shipetiare, where the
Machichenga tribe reside. The wildlife along the way was amazing and gave us a taster
of things to come. We arrived some hours later t the village and set up camp around
what was taken to be the community hall. The next day anda half was spent working with
the community to dig two 3x3x2m pits to be rubbish pits, as well as trail clearing.
This hasto be the most this group has ever sweated!! You only had to sneeze in the
jungle and you broke out in sweat! The work was appreciated greatly by the community,
and before our leaving th locals broght some of their handicrafts to the camp to sell
(think we wiped them out of stock!), and were then presented by us with BEG Peru
t-shirts, scottish tea towels and alll the tools we had purchased for the work.

We then set off further down river – onto the Madre De Dios after the manu River
joined the Upper Madre De Dios, stopping in Boca Manu for lunch before getting to
our second camp. Half the group spent the night sleeping on platforms in the jungle,
20 feet off the ground, in the hope of seeing Tapiers and Peccaries. Unfortunately
these were not seen, but Tiger Ants, Scorpian Spiders and Squirrell monkeys were spotted.
Very early the following morning, after it was discovered that those that spent the night
in the building and not on the platform had ended up gettiong eaten alive by biting
insects, we set off down the river to a hide by the Macaw Clay Lick. There, for once,
the group was quiet, and sure enough we got fantastic views of Mealy Parrots, Blue
Headed parrots, Orange Cheeked parrots and Red and Green Macaws at the lick. A truly
wonderful sight. Also spotted, just before we left were Monkeys. We then has a trip on
an Ox-bow lake to spot Otters.

The day was a hightlight for everyone as the amount of wildlife spotted was immense –
due in huge part to the 2 great guides with us with eagle eyes.

One more night in the jungle (another group on the platforms, with as much success as
the previous lot), and it was time to head off early to the Boca Manu International
Airstrip – a strip of grass. Unfortuantely, weather wise this was our worst in the jungle,
so flights were delayed. In the end, hlaf the group made it back to Cusco by nightfall,
the rest spent another evening in the jungle before arriving safely back in Cusco this
morning.

We are preparing for a return to Pomatales tomorrow to see a, hopefully, completed health
centre for the official opening. On Monday we leave on the 12hour train journey to Puno,
to see Lake Titiacaca.

An exciting week ahead (and the trauma of trying to fit all purchases into rucksacks!).

BEG Peru 2003 team.

Friday1st August And finallyWe are now in the final stages of our expedition having arrived here in
Arequipa about 2 this afternoon.

We finally left Cusco at the beginning of the week – everyone having grown
quite attached to the city. We travelled by train to Puno. It was a long
journey through some spectacular mountain scenery but having experienced the
views on our trek we were perhaps just a little blasse! Puno proved to be
just as the books describe a rather drab and oxygenless place. It is the
gateway to Lake Titicaca and we were certainly not disappointed by our
experinces there. First we spent time on the floating Uros Islands and were
amazed at the sensation of walking on the reeds. We did the tourist thing of
having a trip in one of the reed boats – after all we are in the tourist
phase! Leaving the floating islands behind we headed for the island of
Amantani were we were hosted by local families. When we landed we were taken
in groups of 3 by our hosts to their homes. It was with some concerns that
we listened to what was plannned for the evening – a party night where we
would all dress up in local costume! Before the party we walked to the top
of the highest hill onb the island – to the Pacha Mama temple. There each of
us managed to find our own space where in the peace and tranquility of the
evening we watched the sunset. As far as the party was concerned just wait
to see the pictures! The evening was a huge success and much enjoyed by both
locals and the team alike!

The next morning we awoke to very heavy rain – luckily before we boarded the
boat for the return journey the skies began to clear and we spent a very
pleasant few hours sailing back to Puno.

This morning we left Puno in a first class coach – plenty of room, comfy
seats – what more could we ask for. Arriving in Arequipa we were all amazed
at the hotel we have been booked into – amazed and delighted! Is this really
a BEG expedition?? We are looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow –
everyone making the most of the last few daysRegards from us all

Peru 2003 team

 

Adventure Phase

Adventure Itinerary: Day 13 of Expedition: 10th July 2003

Day 1,10th July: POMATALES / PARPISHU/CHILIPAHUALeaving from the communities of Pomatales at 3,100 m we will arrive at a footbridge of Parpishu . From here the
trail starts ascending slowly, leaving the valley behind us. The trail continues to the pass of Watuq’asa (3,900
m.) where we have lunch and then continue on. We will see an Inca wall and Tambo known as Qosqoq’awarina (the place
where we can see Cusco) that surrounds the pass. Views of Mt. Pumahuanca, Chicon and Mt. Veronika. From here the
trail descends to the left ending at a small valley with a stream running through it called Anapahua, we continue
over to Chilipahua – a small community where we camp.
Day 2,11th July CHILIPAHUA / ANCASCOCHAWe leave our campsite and head north west, slowly ascending past some small houses at Incaraqay – a community of
sheep herders on the high puna. From here a one hour hike will bring us over another Pass at Pampaq’asa (4,200
m.) down into the gulley of the Silque river to then reach the Pass at Ancascocha (4,450 m.). Here we are in full
view of Mt. Huayanay and the Silque Valley. We camp near a lake.
Day 3,
12th July
ANCASCOCHA / QESQAOver the pass of Huayanay at 4,800 m., now the trail descends into the ruins of Inca raqay – a series of small
corrals, until reaching Moyo-Moyo, valley with a small waterfall at 3,800m . We continue down the Keska Valley,
past small house holds of farmers working on their patchwork fields. We camp along the valley floor.
Day 4,
13th July
QESKA / QENTE / AGUAS CALIENTESWe reach recently restored Paucarcancha, an Inca site that was a check point located at the confluence of two valleys
– Keska and Pampaccahua. From here the trail follows the Cusichaca valley passing Huayllabamba, a village of corn
farmers to finally reach the area of Q’ente, overlooking the Urubamba river – which in Inca times was intensively
farmed – evidenced by the many sites found in the area – Cusichaca, Q’entemarca, (formerly known as Patallacta),
Machu Q’ente and WaynaQ’ente. Canp in Urumbamba Valley.

 

Environmental Phase

Environmental Itinerary: Day 23 of Expedition 20th July 2003

Day 1,20th July CUSCO to PILCOPATALeave Cusco and drive to Pilcopata with suggested stops. Overnight at lodge in Pilcopata
Day 2,21st July PILCOPATA / ATALAYA / SHIPITIAREEarly morning drive to Atalaya. Prepare raft from balsa tree and travel to host community who we will stay with.
Arrive afternoon 17:00 pm,

introduction of the group to community,discussion of environmental problems.

Day 3,22nd July SHIPITIERA / DIAMANTE 

Split into groups for trail cleaning.

Day 4,23rd July DIAMANTE / BLANQUILLOTrail cleaning in morning.After lunch we go by boat for 4 hours to Maquisapayoj (place of the Black Spider Monkey).
Here we walk to the Mammal Salt Lick in the afternoon and spend the night in the specially made platform to observe
tapirs at night.
Day 524th July BLANQUILLO :
MACAW CLAY LICK : Early in the morning we go by boat about 40 minutes to Macaw Clay Lick. From a blind we can
observe flocks of Macaws (Ara chloroptera, – macao), Parrots and Parakeets arriving to eat the clay.After the spectacle we continue exploring Blanco lake searching for Giant river Otters and monkeys . We spend the
night in Maquisapayoj where we can have another option to visit the mammal salt lick or drive to Boca Manu and
spend the night at the community lodge.
DAY 6,25th July MQUISAPAYOJ OR BOCA MANU TO CUSCOEarly in the morning we drive 3 hours to Boca Manu airstrip and fly back to Cusco. From Boca Manu is only 10 minutes.

 

A Leader’s view point

Introduction Over 18 months of planning and preparation finally came to fruition when the Borders Exploration Group left Scotland
on 27th June on their 2003 expedition to Peru. The team comprised of 25 young Borderers accompanied by 10 leaders.
The Chief Leader of the group was Mr Allan McGee who gained a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to assist
with the venture. The team spent 5 weeks in Peru and returned triumphant on 3rd August having successfully completed
the most challenging and adventurous itinerary.
Purpose The purpose of the expedition was to provide the opportunity for young Borderers to broaden their horizons by experiencing
the challenges of foreign travel – in doing so this provided a wide range of valuable character building prospects.
The aim was achieved by conducting a 4-phase expedition with each element requiring a wide range of disciplines.
Phase 1 The team assisted in the construction of a Medical Centre in a small Andean village by providing labour and materials.
They also interacted with the children of the local School providing some much needed educational assistance.
This was deemed to be the most important phase of the expedition. Over many months negotiations between our contacts
in Peru took place in an attempt to find a suitable project. It became apparent that a much needed Medical Centre
in a small village called Pomatales was a top priority. The location was in the middle of a rural area an hour
and a half North West of Cusco; it was in the centre in a large catchment area where no immediate medical assistance
was available. We organised tools and materials to be on site prior to our arrival and initiated the laying of
the foundations so building work could start immediately upon our arrival.
The building was constructed of Adobe brick [hand made mud bricks] which were all made on site. The group worked
for 12 days, working 8 hours each day. We made excellent progress with the walls reaching roof height before we
left; enough finance was left to complete the roof, fit all the windows and doors, pay for the sanitation and concrete
all the floors.
Before we left Peru we returned to check on progress and found all the
windows to be in place and the roof trusses in position awaiting the delivery of the roof. Our contacts at Pomatales
are currently keeping us informed on progress and we have confident assurances that the building will be up and
running in the next few months. The success of this phase was not only measured in the progress of the building;
a unique interaction with the local community saw the group involved in assisting with the teaching of children
in the School, liaising with the local Doctors on health care issues, organising social gatherings and fulfilling
a full cultural exchange. This phase proved extremely beneficial to all those involved and a very worthwhile end
result was achieved.
Phase 2 Trekking in the high Andes provided the opportunity for the group to be completely
self-reliant and responsible for their own welfare in a very challenging and remote environment.
The adventure phase of the expedition saw the group attempt a four day trek carrying all there own personal equipment
and camping overnight at high altitude camps. This venture proved extremely challenging and stretched all the individuals
to the limit of their physical and mental capabilities. All 36 members achieved the remarkable feat of crossing
the high pass at 15,500ft and camping for two nights at 14,000ft. The area was very remote and proved an excellent
environment to allow the group to experience the feeling of self reliance and the responsibility of being part
of a team. All members successfully completed the trek then moved on to engage in three days of adventurous activities
involving Horse Riding, Mountain Biking and White Water Rafting. Once again this phase lived up to its expectations
allowing a medium for strong team building and personal development.The phase culminated with a visit to Machu Pichhu the lost city of the Incas situated high up in the cloud forest.
The group rose at 4.am to be in position to watch the sunrise over the ancient
city, this really was a sight to behold. Machu Pichhu is a world heritage site, it’s a very spiritual place
with an atmosphere of tranquillity and extreme beauty; the ancient ruins are fascinating and a full day was spent
wandering around enjoying this wonderful spectacle.
Phase 3 An environmental project in the Tropical Rainforest involved the group working with the indigenous community in
setting up a refuse control scheme.
This was set up many months in advance following negotiations with the local community leaders. We were very aware
of the sensitive nature of taking such a large group into an area where the local community had little contact
with the outside world. We travelled down the Upper Madre de Dois River by motorised
canoe for 7 hours to reach our base. We were hosted by the Machichenga tribe of the Shipetiare area of the
Manu Reserve. Our project involved the setting up of a refuse disposal scheme for the village; large pits were
dug at each end of the village whilst other group members spent two days litter picking and collecting other waste
from the trails and surrounding area. This work was much appreciated by the all; the community leaders pledged
to continue to encourage their people to utilise the facilities we set up, thus contributing to the protection
their environment. Once again a valuable cultural exchange took place as our group interacted with the local people
on a range of social activities. Then followed two days of nature study involving bird watching, nocturnal mammal
watching and botany identification before flying out from a grass airstrip
at Boca Manu back to Cusco.
Phase 4 All individuals focusing on one small aspect of Peruvian life adopted a social project – this will be documented
and presented to Primary Schools in our area to be used as a benchmark for comparisons.
This phase was conducted throughout our entire visit to Peru. All members chose an area of particular interest
to them and they took notes and documented these aspects as we progressed through the various phases. These notes
will be correlated and condensed to form a user friendly dossier for use by teachers in our area; all Border schools
will receive the document. Information regarding Peruvian housing, health issues, transport, religion, customs
and folklore will all be included.
Without doubt this expedition was a resounding success and provided the mechanisms to promote positive team building,
increase personal skills, increase the awareness and appreciation of other cultures and provide a fundamental character-building
opportunity for all team members.
Allan S.R. McGee
{Expedition Chief Leader}

Copies of the Peru 2003 report and appendices are here.