Drayton Manor High School 2015

Charles Combes, Harvey Reynier, Izsak Ahmed, Matthew Bird

swedish island camping expedition

Their story, in their words…

“We had never planned a trip before. Like most people aged 17 we had been on plenty of camps and school trips, but had never actually been responsible for all the planning and logistics.

We decided that we wanted to try something that would really stretch and challenge us, both physically and mentally; we opted to be abandoned on an uninhabited island!

Even before we left Britain there were challenges. We had to plan every little detail to enable us to be self-sufficient, and we had to think through how we would mitigate any problems we might encounter; we would be the ones that would pay the price for any mistakes. As a result we gained valuable experience in new areas, from buying insurance to catering, from calculating water consumption to managing the weight of our kit. We also developed existing skills through a broad training plan that covered a range of things such as emergency aid and canoeing.

As we arrived in Scandinavia the weather was far worse than we had expected, with wind that went on to tear our tarpaulins and snap one of our tent poles clean in two. But our preparation paid off, and after putting our First Aid into practice by making a splint for the tent pole, we erected a secure shelter and our adventure began.

The next five days really tested our team dynamics and taught us a lot about each other and ourselves. We were challenge by the environment and by the isolation, resorting to a system of tasks and rewards to keep ourselves motivated. High points included diving into the clear waters of the Swedish archipelago to wash; low points included rations running very low by the end.

By the end of the expedition we had mixed emotions. On one hand we were longing to enjoy civilised ‘waste management’; on the other hand we didn’t want the experience to end.

Looking back on the trip, it was an amazing week full of lasting memories; we can’t wait to plan our next adventure!”