Cuban Flag

Cuba 2012

Emergency Response Group

The Cuba 2012 Expedition will be away from Thursday 28th June to Thursday 19th July 2012. Should you need to contact the group whilst they are in Cuba please channel all communication via one of the Emergency Response Group.

  1. Allan McGee: allansrmcgee@btinternet.com 07957 474 375 / 01750 76227
  2. Jono Ellis: jono.ellis@gmail.com 078 666 468 22 / 0131 553 2479
  3. Nancy Anderson (Not available between 22nd June and 2nd July): nancyhaggis@aol.com 0779 2221 449

News From Cuba - 20th July 2012

Hi everyone,

The group are on track to arrive at 7:30pm tonight at the Common Haugh in Hawick (thirty minutes later than expected - not bad for a trip of almost five thousand miles!).

Thanks,

Jono

News From Cuba - 19th July 2012

Hello Everyone

I hope you have all received the final report [see below if you didn’t]. I’m pleased to see all is well and it appears that everyone has had a fantastic time – another successful BEG expedition!! I’m sure we will hear many stories in the next few days and weeks although it will probably take some time before everything is revealed. The expedition team will undoubtedly have formed a strong bond and many folk in the group will probably stay in contact with each other for many years to come – another great benefit.

The ERG would like to thank everyone for their support during the time the group have been away. They haven’t been able to send lengthy progress reports as expected due to the poor communication channels, but in a way this makes the homecoming even more exciting as you now have the chance to hear first hand the highs and the lows. I hope in a small way we were able to offer some reassurance and support and allay any anxieties or worries folk might have had.

The team are due back as expected on the itinerary at 1900hrs Friday 20th in the Common Haugh, Hawick. If we hear of any significant change to this we will try our best to let you know; please check your e-mail or check out the BEG website tomorrow afternoon\ evening probably around 5pm. We will post the expected arrival time then.

Many thanks again to everyone who contacted us over the past 3 weeks.

Regards Allan, Jono, Nancy

News From Cuba - 14th July 2012

Afternoon Everyone

I received a text message this afternoon to say the group were having difficulties accessing any internet connection to send a more detailed report so they sent a condensed version via text.

"Our week of work in the La Platica community was a great success. We worked alongside workers from the National Park to mend banisters, signposts and trail paths. We made friends with the local workers, adults and children and our Scottish entertainment evening was great fun and the Cubans all appreciated the donations we left for them. At the end of the week, and despite some minor injuries and stomach complaints every single member of our group completed the trek up and down Pico Turquino – according to our guides the largest group to successfully complete the trek!! We are currently in Trinidad and have enjoyed a day of snorkelling in the Caribbean sea seeing a variety of tropical fish followed by a meal on the beach surrounded by hermit crabs and iguanas! Hope everyone is well back home. Adios, Cuba team 2012".

All sounds great doesn’t it – wish I was there!!

Regards Allan

News From Cuba - 12th July 2012

Good Morning Everyone

Received a text during the night from the group to say all is well.

They had just arrived back at their Hotel safe and sound after completing a very successful community phase and trek. They are all tired but very pleased with what they have achieved and have had a great time. There are no significant ailments to report with anyone in the group so that’s also good news. The group will be moving North today and hope to provide us with a bit more information once they get established there.

News From Cuba - 6th July 2012

" Hola amigos!

Just a quick note for you all. We have all survived so far and are safe and sound. Our first stop in Havana included a tour around the city before we headed south to Santiago on a 12 hour bus journey. Again another tour around the city which let us all see more of Cuba´s culture. Our main activity so far has been salsa dancing which we believe most of our group will be sharing with you when we return home. None of us are experts but as we have been practising a lot hopefully we will be soon.

We are all now currently in Pico Turquino national park at La Platica doing community work where we are living in a mountain refuge for the next week.

Will be in touch again soon.

Adios, the BEG team ".

News From Cuba - 3rd July 2012

Hello Everyone

More news from Cuba – text message received 1600hrs 03.07.12

"Martin here, contacting you from the Sierra Maestra. All the group are fine, a couple have skin conditions on their feet but the doctors are monitoring things so they won’t be participating in the trek today. The trip has been great so far, lots of Salsa and it’s been sweltering hot!! We will be out of contact now until 11th July so I will text you then; however we will ask Kath [local organiser] to send an e-mail composed by the venturers in the next couple of days. Hope all is well back home. Adios Martin".

News From Cuba - 29th June 2012

Good Morning

I received a text message timed at 0209hrs [21.09 hrs local time in Havana] it reads – "All team and kit have arrived safely in Havana, met up with our guide in the Hotel, everyone happy".

That’s very good news indeed and we can now all relax and look forward to some progress reports in the next few days. Rest assured I will forward any information on to everyone as soon as it comes through. Today the group will be doing a round of visits to help acclimatise to the way of life in Cuba before travelling again tonight [overnight] to their base in Santiago.

Regards Allan

Leader Selection Weekend

Ron's Leader Selection Weekend photos can be found on Facebook.

TV Quiz Answers

Many thanks to everyone who bought one of the quizzes, the winner was Sandy Bell from Newtown St. Boswells and a cheque for £50 will be heading his way as soon as I get a hold of our Treasurer to write one.

The best score was 86 / 90, and a good number of folk were also very close to that result with several scores of 85 and 84.

The most common errors were ones where we needed a wee bit more in the answer than most folk gave, such as Q65 - Really weird form of Elizabeth's initials - where the answer was "Bizarre E.R." rather than just "E.R.". Similarly Q86 - Which Medical man : in private - was "Doctor Who Confidential"

One or two answers had good suggestions for answers such as Q18 - What you ask if you don't know - where we needed "how do they do that", rather than "Question time" which many folk put in as answers Q42 was much the same - One of Grandparents, parents and children - was "Family Guy" where "My family" and "The Generation Game" were frequent answers.

Also thanks to one competitor (sorry the bit of paper got separated from the sheet with your name) who suggested showing the number of words in the answer, so I will do that for the next one.

Many thanks again to everyone who bought a quiz, by the looks of the state of some of the returned ones, a lot of time has been spent over these, sometimes with friends and neighbours called in to help and several cups of tea or coffee have left their impression too. :-)

Jim

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1Fear Sir (Anag.)Frasier

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2Miss Dench on the BenchJudge judy

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3The most important meal of the dayBreakfast

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4A display of high tech “toys for boys”The gadget Show

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5A touring display of valuable old stuffAntiques Roadshow

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6Where a fiery creature could liveDragon’s Den

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7Quakers – the society of ……..Friends

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8Very unpleasant ancient stories and factsHorrible histories

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9Where you are, where you are, where you areLocation, Location, Location

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10Reamed Elm (Anag.)Emmerdale

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11Search for the best priceBargain Hunt

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12Flee to any of Belgium, France, GermanyEscape to the Country

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13Lofty MoneyCash in the Attic

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14A Football game may be here and thereHome and Away

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15Agree – Maybe notDeal or No deal

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16A doctor hears this if you’re aliveHeartbeat

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17One ovum and many skullsEggheads

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18What you ask if you don’t knowHow do they do that

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19Sounds like shaving a blackfaceShaun the Sheep

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20They live either side of youNeighbours

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21Hirsute cyclistsHairy Bikers

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22Less than sixth clothesFifth Gear

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23Goes all the way round the U.K.Coast

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24The doctor says “he was killed”Diagnosis Murder

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25Maybe Doctor Who’s gangTime Team

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26Can you appear nice without clothesHow to look good naked

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27The sum of all the rods and linesTotal Fishing

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28The highest Push or PullUltimate Force

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29The highest cogTop Gear

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30A Spitfire engineMerlin

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31“Dover to Calais” quads pursuingChannel 4 racing

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32Police in vehicles on the roadTraffic Cops

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33Complete obliterationTotal Wipeout

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34Hits dead centreBullseye

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35The sound of a cameraClick

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36A rank codeInspector Morse

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37Furthest away mechanicsExtreme Engineering

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38New Class in Scotland initiallyN.C.I.S.

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39Riches for mum, dad and the kidsFamily Fortunes

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40Scotland’s Saint impairrs the exhibitionAndrew Marr Show

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41Ask once about athleticsA Question of Sport

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42One of grandparents, parents and childrenFamily Guy

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43Really big impressive vesselsMighty Ships

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44An injured personCasualty

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45A boot worn by skinheadsDoc Martin

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46Impressive PlansGrand Designs

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47Two types of treesHollyoaks

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48A pair of blokes and one femaleTwo guys and a Girl

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49Elizabeth isn’t prettyUgly Betty

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50Cold Sunny Intervals in FloridaC.S.I. Miami

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51Rig Some Grill (Anag.)Gilmore Girls

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52Where a chain will breakThe Weakest Link

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53What a journalist is doing North of CarlisleReporting Scotland

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54An individual presentationThe One Show

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55Landseer’s paintingMonarch of the Glen

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56Who’s family caused 1936 abdicationThe Simpsons

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57Saving lives on the beachSeaside rescue

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58Waltzing on very, very cold waterDancing on Ice

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59Can divide ten in RomeThe X Factor

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60Todd the barber’s first nameThe Sweeney

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611, 2, 3, 4, 5 etcNumbers

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62Precious stone labyrinthCrystal Maze

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63What’s happening for 60 minutesNews Hour

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64Helicopter from the statesAmerican Chopper

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65Really weird form of Elizabeth’s initialsBizarre E.R.

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66He checks holiday accommodationThe Hotel Inspector

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67A quart and a salt and vinegar snack maybe2 Pints and a packet of crisps

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68The most amusing creatures on EarthThe Planet’s Funniest Animals

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69The exploits of Fergie and Tarzan’s palThe Sarah Jane Adventures

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70Set fire to the treesTorchwood

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71They fought in the colosseumGladiators

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72CaughtTrapped

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73Tertiary Education defianceUniversity challenge

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74The way to Napoleon’s defeatWaterloo road

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75Leading part of a duckThe Bill

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76A trainee Joiner, Electrician etcThe Apprentice

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77Ridicule 7 daysMock the Week

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78Just not worth doingPointless

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79Heard before a “lift off”Countdown

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80Untied femalesLoose Women

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81Flag flown before a ship sailsBlue Peter

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82Forth, Clyde or Tay conurbationRiver City

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83The U.K. has abilityBritain’s got talent

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84DawnDaybreak

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85How you could describe an oasisA Place in the Sun

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86Which Medical man – in privateDoctor Who Confidential

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87A vista of athletic eventsSportscene

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88Seeing the third seasonAutumn Watch

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89Crisis on Ben Nevis sayHighland Emergency

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90Frantic domestic techniciansDesperate Housewives

Training Weekend 1

Friday

Our first Cuba training weekend started on Friday evening at Cappercleuch, St Mary’s Loch. Nearly all the ventures and a few new additions joined the team for the start of the training weekend. After everyone was accounted for, we began with some ice beakers in groups. This led everyone become more familiar with people in the team and was great fun especially when Jim was called a “fascist”. After this, the rules for the weekend were established and duties for the weekend. We then split into groups to plan our walk for the next day, two walks were planned for weather dependency. Finally, after a busy few hours, everyone found what space they could in the hall and tried to get a comfy sleep, many quite nervous about what Saturday would involve.

Saturday

After little sleep, a dose of extreme snoring and a bit of spooning, the team was ready to start the new day. After breakfast, the team spilt into two. Group one began by canoeing over the Loch to start the walk while the other group did some ice breaker games. Canoeing over the Loch was a success with no one falling in! When reaching the other side, we began the walk. The walk went around the forest, over the hills and back down. After numerous fails and the occasional break we reached the end where Ross decided to make up the “amazing” game of Dogfood. Back in the hall, the team dried off and were taught how to cook our dinner on trangias. After tidying up, we were given a spanish lesson by Paul and Patricia. We were taught some phrases that would hopefully be useful to us in Cuba. After a talk on the expedition and a night time tidy up outside, it was another race to get a comfy spot on the floor for some well needed sleep.

Sunday

After a sleep filled with even more snoring and the occasional funny noise from Dove, the team was up and ready for another day. Tidying up rucksacks was the teams first duty as the hall was needed for the fitness session. Fitness circuits, putting up tents, hygiene and bag packing was the plan for the morning. The fitness circuits definitely benefited us and some of us learnt how to put up a tent for the first time. After the morning activities, we returned back to the hall for some lunch and to see the Chile presentation. Afterwards, we split into groups that would investigate different parts of Cuba’s culture and history. Finally, a well needed clear up was done of the hall and it was home time. Over the first weekend, the team become extremely close and got to know each other really well so thanks for an amazing weekend guys and see you next time :D

Martha R and Eilidh J

Training Weekend 3

Friday 25th November 2011

It was our third Training weekend at Yarrowford Hall. We all met at Yarrowford at 7.30. We ,first of all, checked to see if we all had the appropriate kit with us and we all divided up to learn how to pack our bags correctly so that we knew where all of our kit would be in our bag in case of an emergency. It was a worthwhile lesson as we were going to be taking our rucksacks on an 8 hour hike and we needed to know where our waterproof clothing was and meanwhile try not to get our other kit wet if it was raining. Later on in the night a symbol was stuck onto our forehead and we had to go out in the dark into the field and find the symbol which resembled our symbol our forehead however we weren’t allowed to talk which made it very difficult trying to find out what symbol was on your forehead and then finding it in a huge field in the dark. Afterwards we went back to the warm cosy hall and warmed up with tea and coffee and began to wind down for bed. It was a fairly long afternoon but very enjoyable.

Saturday 26th November 2011

We woke up at 6.30 on Saturday morning. Everyone was still tired after having little sleep. We had our breakfast not long after getting up and we then had to pack our bags for an 8 hour hike. The weather looked promising from inside the hall but once we got out side we soon noticed that it was freezing. We were set challenges to find things on our hike like a stick over a meter and a feather and something dead. We started walking up the road towards a farm track and from then onwards it was all off road. The terrain was at points very wet but so far it hadn’t rained. Just before half way into the walk we were faced with a huge challenge. It was a very, very steep hill covered with heather and trees went up the sides. We had to co rite to the top of it. It went on for almost 400 yards, but looked like it went on for miles. At pointes we were on our hands and knees and it seemed to take forever but we all knew that we would be stopping at the top for lunch which made it all the more worthwhile. Closer to the end of the walk, just when we started to go back down hill, it started to rain and hail was pounding us. It nipped our faces but we were almost there. Once we got back we had a long and welcome rest and meanwhile we were told that all of the venturers would have to make dinner and decorate tables and that we would have two surprise guests. We all decided on a Scottish themed night and some of us went into Galashiels to buy decorations and food. We were going to be making Scotch broth with crusty bread, Mince and tatties and for desert ice cream and shortbread. The night went down a treat and the food was great and we were entertained by Caitlin playing the flute and Julia playing the fiddle. It was all well deserved after the 8 hour hike. Towards the end of the night we learnt some Spanish from Ross and Claire and played some fun games involving our Spanish which we had just learnt.

Sunday 27th November 2011

On Sunday we were woken up once again, very early. After breakfast we assembled into out groups and discussed plans for presentations we were making on Cuba, whether it be on its history, culture, language etc. We were then given a lesson on how to cross a river successfully indoors, as unfortunately(or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the river outside was far too high to use. We then did a mock river crossing on the field behind the hall which was performed successfully. By the time we came in, it was time to pack away the soaking wet clothes and equipment and head off home.

Liam