Pictures cannot justify the beauty we had seen. We started the day early at 9am, beginning with our 2 hour train journey to Arundel at 9:42 am. We came 45 minutes earlier, as trains to Bognor Regis came every 4 hours, we couldn’t affordto miss the train, we wanted to make the most of the day without rushing. All of our intense research on planning prices, routes, ordering tickets and insurance had paid off. We were organised, allowing us to have a smooth, anxious free day out. We were so keen on getting the cheapest prices that we managed to have £58 at spare to give back to the charity. On the train journey we went over our schedule, we would arrive at Arundel, walk to Swanbourne lake, do rowing, then begin our trek and hike, having 2 breaks. Then walk to Little Hampton where we would do crab fishing, after this walk back to Arundel station, catching a train back home.
This was easier said, than done. Walking through Arundel town was a complete different scenery to the busy, chaotic city life we all lived. There were no buses, less people and cars. It was quiet enough that we could hear robins tweet melodies, the smell of pollen and salty water permeated the air, as we walked to Swanbourne lake. We were ahead of our schedule so the boat hire wasn’t open yet. Therefore, we began our trek and hike. Weaving through the forest was like stepping through the hunger games settings. We had no WiFi or signal, only a map . We can all say that we have exercised our navigation skills and understood that WiFi isn’t vital, just common sense. Approaching the 350 meter high hill, we all felt our hearts drop to the pit of our stomachs. We realised that this was our only chance to do something we have never done before. The beginning of the hike was the hardest. it was so steep that it was like climbing a wall. Half way up the soil was loose, because of the mole holes. Numerous time had we got our foot stuck in them and trodded in the blueberry looking droppings. However, it was all worth it. Despite being breathless and tired, hours had passed and we soon felt a rush of adrenaline when we reached the top. The view was breath taking and photos do not encapsulate the mere beauty that mother nature radiates. The cool breeze helped us cool down. We sat at the top and took a break. For a moment, we all considered that in the future we would move out of London and live here, but the weather took a turn, it began to rain. Even though Arundel felt like a another country, we were still in the UK and rain was an obstacle we had to overcome. We all had coats and umbrellas and that helped us with the 9 mile trek through the valley of sheep. Passing sheep and seeing them fight with each other had made our day. In London, we don’t usually see sheep unless its a burger or mince in a shepherds pie.
Before Rowing, we took a lunch break and ate on a hill, where we could oversee the lake and the valley. The rain was a huge hazard for us. It made the grass slippery, going down a steep slope was difficult not to slip. Rowing was probably the best, five of us had never done Rowing before, this was a new experience. Having a Rowing race was the most enjoyable as we are all competitive, even though we were rubbish at it. We had so much fun that time had flown by and we had to start walking to the coach stop. In Arundel there are no buses, no oysters and a coach ride was £7 each stop. For us, this had made us appreciate TFL, as buses are everywhere for us and are cheap, they also come regularly, but in Arundel a bus comes every hour. This limited many locals from travelling to areas as it costed so much. This meant that many locals only went to town once a month. Explaining why so many residences had cars, it was easier and cheaper to commute. Crab fishing was the hardest. Even though it was crab season, the wind had made ripples in the oyster pond and it made it near impossible for us to see the bottom of the bed. Lucky, with a good eye and luck of sunshine, we saw one crab and caught it. We ate fish and chips and ice cream. The true seaside vibes were embraced. The wind was unpredictable, as at one point it was so strong that it made the ice creams melt rapidly. This brought out our inner 5 year old as we couldn’t care less how much mess the ice cream made, we were all thrilled that we accomplished all our goals as friends without adults.
Walking back to the station took two hours. This was very tiring , by the time we got to the station, our feet were sore and we were knackered, the walk felt like it was never ending.We boarded the train at 8:24 pm, arriving at Clapham at 10 pm. We met many people who were curious about the shirts we wore and we were proud to talk about the Mark Evison Foundation, initially raising awareness and promoting those to donate and follow our Instagram page. We couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity, it has given us a boost of confidence, we all have developed independence and proved to be capable to take responsibility of our behaviour and outings. Achieving our goals, moreover, facing the unexpected like the weather, the experience was spectacular. At the beginning we all felt nervous, as we thought about what happens if we get lost or hurt, but the reality was that we are nearly adults and we have been given the chance to discover our capability of handling and achieving goals physically. Words cannot describe how breath-taking the scenery we saw was. We want to thank the foundation for this marvelous opportunity and experience.