Plymouth Services for Children and Young People are pleased to be able to support ETE and the ISCE, including their Polar Fun Days, as these support and encourage young people to engage with learning in an innovative and exciting environment, close to the heart of their own communities. Learning of this nature also contributes to the raising of aspiration and building of confidence.
We will continue to support ETE/ISCE throughout the next school year and beyond as we believe it makes a positive difference to the lives of our young people.
Plymouth City Council, Heather Ogburn, 2010
Last weekend the ISCE Telegraph competition candidates took part in a grueling three day training exercise on Dartmoor. Dartmoor is famed for its bedrock outcrops, known as tors, and is routinely used for military manoeuvres. In keeping with military tradition the candidates knew little of what was to happen and where they were to go. Equipped with bergens, stuffed with survival bags, stoves and ponchos (all generously supplied by the Royal Navy), the team were dropped off on the edge of Dartmoor with ISCE expedition leader Antony Jinman. This was the start of their three day adventure onto the moor.
Arriving at Burrator Reservoir the candidates had five minutes to organise their packs and tighten their boots before setting off on our adventure. Antony Jinman, head of the expedition, began by leading the way. Heading up hill the group â€˜baggedâ€™ their first tor, Down Tor and looked out over the landscape that they were to become immersed in over the next 48 hours.
Here Antony explained that the aim of the training exercise was to gauge our endurance and motivation, rather than to fine-tune our survival skills. The task was to practice walking 1 hour legs, covering roughly 3-4 km, with strict 10 minute rest breaks in between. The aim was to see how we adapted to the kind of routine that would be expected on the Antarctic expedition. And so, Antony gave us our next stopping point and passed over the navigation to us!
The afternoon was spent clambering over tors, across rivers and through fields, trying to avoid overly curious cows. The team finished at Bellever Tor, pausing to take in the amazing views over the moorland. They headed down from the tor to establish camp in the forest below, deciding on a cosy spot next to Cherry Brook. Here we set up our ponchos and bivi bags and learnt how to cook their navy rations with a hexi stove. For many of the group this was the first time theyâ€™d camped without a tent!
The team made an early start and worked well to eat breakfast and pack up camp, ready to head off, by 7.30am. This was to be the longest day of the expedition. The candidates were expected to walk for 12 hours, just as they would have to do in Antarctica. The weather was gloriously sunny as the team headed out of the forest, past the disused gunpowder factory and up onto Logaford Tor, the first of the day. Already the sun was making conditions hot to walk in. This provided a great opportunity for the candidates to learn how to keep energy and hydration levels up with timely and continual snacking and drinking.
The team headed out across the Merrivale Range, reaching tor after tor throughout the day. It was only at 8 pm, after 12 Â½ hours of walking that they reached their final stop for the day. Having covered roughly 40 km over uneven and often boggy terrain they were finally able to set up camp for the night. Morale remained high as the group eagerly investigated what rations they could devour and the first aid kit was handed around the group as numerous blisters and sore spots were tended to. It was an early night for all as a weary team settled down in anticipation for the final day ahead.
Up early and ready to go, the final day began with a river crossing. Not yet quite awake, a few of the team fell victim to the slippery rocks of the river and received an early morning wash they hadnâ€™t quite expected. The sun was still shining though and the cool bath was welcome as the team set off once more towards their final destination and home. The last day took them to Kingâ€™s Tor and then on to Black Tor, where they were able to head back down into the forest at Burrator Reservoir and await their lift home.
They had made such good progress that everyone was able to enjoy a few minutes relaxing in the sunshine. This was not the only reward to come. On arrival back in Plymouth, the team were treated to a meal on the waterfront courtesy of Prezzo and accompanied by a well deserved bottle of The Spirit of Scott, Centenary beer.
Everyone had worked hard over the weekend and Antony said, â€˜I am pleased with what Iâ€™m seen from all of them. They dug deep when it mattered.â€™
Chris Gosling, ISCE candidate says, "â€œAJâ€™s rule is that youâ€™re never lost, just geographically misplaced.â€ These words of wisdom by ISCE leader Antony Jinman echoed in my head as I blithely tried to make sense of our position on the map. It appeared I was geographically misplacedâ€¦"
The next selection event will be held in August. Details will be posted in due course.