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High Adventure 2010

12th to 14th March 2010 - Machynlleth, Wales

This year, High Adventure went to Machynlleth in Wales for its second year since it was re-launched in 2009. A total of 98 participants in 17 teams entered the event to battle it out for the High Adventure winner’s trophy. Competition was even fiercer than last year with some teams training hard before the event with first place firmly in their sights.

High Adventure 2010 Winners

After weeks of preparation, the teams assembled on Friday evening in Leicestershire to board the coaches for the secret destination. Several hours (and even days) before, members of the 54 strong High Adventure staff team began arriving at the base camp at Pantperthog near to Machynlleth to transform a basic field into a mini-village for the weekend. The teams arrived safely late on Friday night after a long tiring journey to settle down for the night before the competition that lay ahead.

On Saturday morning, the first teams were awake at 0530hrs to pack up, eat breakfast courtesy of Laura and Adams base camp team and report “promptly” to kit check. After leaving base camp the teams were to be self sufficient until they arrived back at the base camp again on the Sunday so carrying the correct kit was essential. The teams were then given their maps and a briefing by the mountain team before planning their route to get as many points as possible in the time available. The checkpoints were worth between 5 and 20 points depending on how challenging they were to achieve, but with a 5 point penalty being deducted for every 5 minutes (or part thereof) late arriving at top camp, planning was vital for success. Last year’s teams had asked us to make the event tougher so we didn’t want to disappoint. The first team left at 0745hrs for their 8 ½ hours on the mountain.

During the competition on Saturday, the teams collected points as they made their way across the mountain and through the forests North of Machynlleth towards the top camp at a farm in Pennal. The day was organised like a massive orienteering event with a total of 30 checkpoints scattered across the mountain that teams could choose from. The checkpoints were a mixture of manned checkpoints, post boxes and unmanned clipper points carefully hidden around the mountain by the mountain team.

Some teams decided to plan their route carefully before they left, whereas others went for a less organised approach! The teams were monitored carefully by Pete and the rest of the mountain team during the event to ensure that they knew where everyone was at all times... almost! The scores ranged from 25 to 165 with one team visiting an impressive 19 checkpoints.

Most teams made it into top camp on time to kick off their boots and relax a little... and we won’t name the ones who didn’t make it back on time but the Jackson Six team know who they are!

Arriving at top camp, the teams handed in their score cards to Becca, Anthony and their team and pitched their tents next to the river. I’m not sure what the resident sheep thought of their new “field-mates” but they decided to move to the other corner of the field for the duration of our stay at top camp. Walking around, I saw a variety of evening meals being prepared from the NASA style dinner in a silver bag option to the pot noodle or pasta and baked beans. After some banter the teams settled down for the night ready for the challenge day and their walk back to base camp.

Bright an early on the Sunday morning, the teams began preparing to say good bye to top camp and being the walk back to base camp via the forest tracks completing a series of challenges on their way organised by Robin. First, the teams had to complete an obstacle course carrying a stretcher with two large water carriers to test their strength and team work as they passed under and over obstacles and across stepping stones. Next the team had to collect water in special “water carriers” from a stream and carry this to the next two bases without bursting their precious load en route. Needless to say this caused a lot of amusement to participants and the challenge staff... I’m not sure I can repeat any of the jokes in this article!

Arriving at the next two bases, the teams had to build a fire to heat their water then use the water to extinguish a flame using an ingenious reverse pulley crane system suspended between the trees.

Finally the teams completed a traverse about 3-4m above a river using ropes secured between several trees before checking back into base camp and handing in their score cards again.

After a tough weekend of competition, everyone relaxed in the sun with their food prepared by the base camp team whilst Fi added up the scores.

With the results in, everyone assembled for the many thank you’s and the presentations. 1st place went to the Looney Tunes team from Market Harborough with 312 points. The mountain team award was awarded to Ollie’s Army.

Finally, the teams boarded the coaches for the long journey home and a well deserved rest.

All the photos from the event can be found on the High Adventure 2010 facebook group pages at:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=334228945436

Once again, High Adventure proved to be a huge success to those who attended and a great enjoyment for staff who organised and helped to run the event. The dates for High Adventure 2011 will be announced later in the year.

Finally, as co-organiser, I need to say a huge thank you to Richard Coppock (my co-organiser) and Diane Wilkinson who helped with the admin and chased up all the money and paperwork. I also need to thank Laura Jones and Adam Ward (base camp), Becca Young and Anthony Camp (top camp), Pete Bailey, Steve Cole, Steve Pope, Roger Bennett and Terry Aucott (Mountain team), Robin Barber (Challenges), Dave “Radio” Chimley (Communications) and all their teams and other staff without whom we couldn’t run this event.

I will be handing over the reins of High Adventure for next year as I’m away working in New Zealand for a year but hope to see everyone again on the event when I return.