Ukraine 2011

Expedition Reports

Saturday 9th July 2011
Priv-yet!

Who would have thought a B.E.G team could get a safety
warning within fifteen minutes of begining an expedition! haha! Did you
know escalators weren't for dancing on?! After a long five hours of
broken sleep, coffee drinking, card playing and sock sliding we finally
boarded the plane without too much hastle! Arrived in Amsterdam on time
and spent a drousey few hours sleeping in numerous strange places again
we boarded our next flight successfully!
     Four hours later and a
few burgers down we arived in Ukraine! After a little confusion with
three missing bags which were later returned we met our guide Alexander
who quickly explained what we were doing for the rest of the day. The
four hour bus journey passed quickly probably due to the discovery that
a litre of coke, a bar of chocolate, a huge bag of crisps and a pack of
biscuits came to under two pounds!
      We arrived at the summer
camp just outside a town called Cherkassy and were shown our cabin,
maybe not exactly the luxury one might have imagined but at least
everyone had a bed with a pillow. We were then greeted with a welcoming
meal.
       The next few days consisted of visiting two orphanages;
one for street kids and children from difficult backgrounds -there were
around fifty kids here- and the general orphanage which also catered
for sick children -there were around 400 children here- we visited the
sick children. One group of us gave out gifts and small items whilst
the other group played football with the older children. Both groups
felt extremely pleased on leaving, knowing we had made a slight
difference to their day!
       The remainder of the time was spent
renovating another cabin at the summer camp for the children to stay
in. We completed the front wall with a mural combining both Scottish
and Ukrainian culture.
       We are now back in Kiev and staying in
a very pleasent hostel. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying the
sights and eating slightly too much at McDonalds We are now preparing
to get the over night train tomorrow night to Lviv tomorrow evening.


Written by Stacey and Rachel.

Walk and WWR

After our overnight train we were picked
up by our 2 guides for the hike, Igor and Andrew. They led us to our 2
mini buses which would take us to our trekking phase. When we arrived
there we were given a chance to sort out our rucksacks so that we were
only taking the absolute essentials for the hike. After this we were
given lunch and began our hike. 7-10 km to our campsite and I would say
that it was the most intense as it was so warm and quite steep
especially for the 1st day. Nevertheless we managed it and got to our
campsite to pitch our tents and get ready for supper. We were directed
to the water source which was a stream that flowed into a trough!
Supper was a borsch like soup, as it was raining some of us were
finding caterpillars in our soup that had been falling from the trees!
Bed time ended up varying from 6pm to about 10pm - a lot of sleepy
heads. We experienced our first big thunder and lightening storm in a
tent this night at around 2am - in my mind it was amazing!

The second
day hiking was our longest day hiking, 15 km in about 7 hours. It
started off rather wet but as we neared our highest peak the sun
decided to come out for us. We soon realised that the guides had no
conception of distance at all! When we got to the highest peak we
decided that it was photo time as we couldn't miss out. Another thing
that we quickly gathered was that lunch was going to be the same
everyday with salami, cheese, bread and mayo. After lunch we continued
our walk, this time there was a wind that took away the heat of the
blistering sun - it wasn't the best as many of us got quite sun burnt,
some worse than others. This was the day that we'd be camping next to a
lake, when we got near the lake we soon noticed that we had to go down
a very steep hill with little evidence of a path. This seemed trickier
than expected as a few people ended up on their bums. Finally we got
down and quickly changed into swimming gear to try out the lake, from
the screams I heard (sun burnt in particular) it was rather cold. That
didn't stop us though! Dinner was more wholesome soup with croutons
this time. After being sun burnt some of us headed to bed earlier than
others.

Day 3 We were given 3 choices, 2 were realistic:
Option 1 -
walk to the next lake which involved hiking back up the hill we came
down the day before - no one was keen
Option 2 - walk half of Wednesday
distance at 1pm - best option
Option 3 - stay at the lake all day and
get up very early on Wednesday - early start ... NAH!
After a very
tasty breakfast of rice pudding with raisons and apricots we started
our relaxing morning.  As some people were sunbathing - Nick and
Awaiss- to remove their t-shirt tans others were having casual swims in
lake ... the cold lake whilst most were enjoying a mid morning nap. We
left camp about 1pm and started the downhill trek to the next campsite.
After walking for about 1hr we stopped for lunch. And guess what cheese
and salami sandwiches again. We continued walking down quite a steep
downhill forestry track til our next base camp. It was a random grassy
patch in beside a derlict old house.  When we arrived at camp we had an
afternoon snack including some much need chocolate and cereal bars.
During the period before dinner the majority of people had a nap whislt
others sat and chatted.  Dinner tonight consisted of more soup followed
by flower tea and a strange sunflower cake. Some liked it more than
others. After chilling in the evening people headed to bed to prepare
for the final day of trekking.

Day 4 Everyone was woken to delight of
an overly warm tent since it was sunny outside.  Not our best breakfast
today ... buckwheat with onions and fish, so it was a tad dry.  We left
camp about 11 for our final days trek which was very level. Our first
break was spent beside the river.  Most people enjoyed a wee paddle in
the river since it was so warm.  After our 30 min break we wondered
onwards til lunch.  It was really easy walking but it was rather warm.
We had the usual for lunch along with a little treat of chocolate
nougat. The rest of the walk past quickly and we soon arrived at the
finish.  Everyone was more than happy to have finished.  Most people
bought an ice cream and a cold drink from the local shop before the
bumpy 2hr road trip to the rafting campsite. Once we arrived at the
camp we were greeted with tea and cookies and we were given the chance
to go and swim in the river.  Everyone jumped at the chance but we were
told we would need to wear helmets and life jackets. More soup for
dinner.

Rafting day.  Pasta for breakfast, yummy.  After splitting
into 4 teams we started the rafting.  It the started off quite calm and
gentle but then along came the rapids.  They were a challenge but were
really good fun.  Throughout our time rafting only one person fell out
... Richard. The rafting was really good fun and a great way to finish
the adventure phase of our expedition.  After lunch of green borsch we
started the journey back to the train station. We stopped for a wonder
at a waterfall and had an ice cream to try and cool us down.  The train
journey to Lviv was rather hot - the thermometer read 33 degrees at one
point. We eventually arrived at the hostel at about 11pm.

Training Weekend 1

Brennan Bouglas’s Cryptic Film Quiz Summary of Responses :

More than 300 of the cryptic film quiz quizzes were sold – many thanks to all those who helped with the sales. No–one got all of the answers correct, but of the 20 that were returned, 5 people had only one wrong – 3 of the 5 had the same one wrong… The clue was ‘The most effective firearm’, the correct answer was ‘Top Gun’. The wrong answers received for this clue were Lethal Weapon and Revolver. One of the 5 got ‘7/4 across the pond wrong and one got ‘It’s a sign – change is coming wrong’, the answer to this one being ‘The Omen’. This incidentally was the most common wrong answer with 6 different answers being given.

Jim McPherson, from the Ukraine trip leader group, was asked to draw a winning entry from the top five sheets (tightly folded so that there were no clues as to who they had come from). The entry that Jim picked belonged to Margaret Davidson, from Ettrick… A cheque for £20 has been posted!

Of the remaining entries, there were 3 with only 2 wrong, and 2 with only 3 wrong – which was pretty good as I think it is fair to say that the quiz was pretty challenging. In summary, the ones that we received the most wrong answers to were:

  • It’s a sign – change is coming (10 wrong) – as explained above
  • Sons a bit under the weather (9 wrong), was The Blues Brothers. Some folks had left this blank, but the most common wrong answer was The Brothers Grim.
  • The most effective firearm (8 wrong), also explained above.
  • Opposable articulated structures (7 wrong), was Jaws. Wrong answers for this were Transformers, World Trade Centre and Skeletons.
  • A visual achievement that’s applauded recently (6 wrong), was Avatar – check the first letter of each word in the clue..! Several people had left this one blank but two guessed at Saw and Morning Glory.
  • Shawshank Redemption, Independence Day and Clash of the Titans were each wrong on 5 of the returned sheets. It is amazing how many people did not know that the bit of the potato plant that grows above ground is called the shaw..!

All of the other wrong answers were pretty random. So on the whole everyone did really well.

I hope that those of you who bought a quiz sheet had fun filling it in (even if you did not complete it) and thanks again for your support.

Brennan Bouglas

Training Weekend 1 Report

Saturday:

We started of by doing some ice breakers to get to know our new team mates, which ended up being quite the laugh. After meeting everyone again we had our lunch and got ready for our hill walk. Our walk took us onto the Bowhill estate and round the duchesses drive. We had to be careful where we put our feet as there was still alot of ice after all that snow. We arrived back just before the sunset and had a nice hot drink to relax. We were then put into groups and told to use our Scottish items to put together a performance for the talent spot we would be doing after dinner. While we were preparing for the talent spot one member form each tea helped in the kitchen to make our dinner which we were all ready for after our walk. After dinner the talent spot took place. There was a mini highland games, X factor, Tam o Shanter and many more funny performances. Later on we had a quiz which involved question about BEG and Ukraine. Before getting ready for bed the leaders gave us a briefing about the trip and various other BEG trips which created a lot of question. Lastly we picked where we were going to sleep and got ready for what we thought would be a good nights sleep. We had been told that Jim and Ron snored but we didn’t expect it to be all night! Next time we’ll remember the ear plugs!

Kirsty

Sunday:

Who needs an alarm when you share a room with Jim McPherson? One things for
sure, you won’t get much sleep that night. Day two of the training weekend started
bright and early. The breakfasters had to get up really early in order to make some
yummy porridge and bacon rolls for the rest of us. (Although most of us were already
awake as the mixture of snoring coming from Jim and Ron was impossible to sleep
through). The porridge had a nice smoky taste to it and it made everyone like their
lips with delight. Or maybe not. After breakfast we learned out to count from one to
twelve in Ukranian/Russian. This consisted of reading the numbers allowed and when
Richard thought we had learned them all we were sent out into a field. Around the
field were numbers. Richard would call out a number in Ukranian and we had to run
to what we thought that number was. It was a great exercise and really helped us all to
learn our numbers. After this we went back inside and took off our soaking wet shoes.
We were then split into two different groups. These groups were to discuss the
different kit that we need for the expedition and the kinds of things we may be
expected to do. This gave all the venturers a great opportunity to ask questions and
learn the best places to go and get kit. After this came the lunch swap. Everyone had
to put all their food on a table and then line up in order of their birthday. Those who
had an early birthday got to go and get first pick of the food. Leaving those with a late
birthday the worst pick of food. During lunch everyone was split into groups and
given topics to discuss. At the end of lunch, each group was given the opportunity to
share the things that they had discussed on each topic. When the discussion had
finished the lunch team cleared up whilst everyone else gathered in a group on the
floor. This was the end of the training weekend and everyone was given the
opportunity to bring up any issues that they had. All in all it was a very good start to
many training weekends to come.

Michaela Henderson