Sixth Form Expedition to Aviemore
Thank you to the Mark Evison Foundation!
I was sceptical at first when my friends insisted we apply for an award. I thought, surely, we didn’t have the skills to develop and carry out a plan completely independently, but still, we went for it. We researched, planned and budgeted and before we even started, we already knew we were more able than we expected; not only did we manage to finish a plan, itinerary, meal plans, it was good enough to earn an award!
The week that we carried out our hike was one we will all remember for a long time. Although the coach ride to Fort William started late at night, we were all awake with excitement, only sleeping when we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Even then, we intermittently woke up to sleepily stare in awe at the rolling misty hills and mirror-like lakes.
As soon as we arrived at Fort William, we faced a very unexpected challenge: actually finding the trail! After a few hours of wandering around, our bags seemingly getting heavier by the minute, we finally found it, and from then onwards the path was well marked in a bright orange that we will forever associate with our time in Scotland
But we didn’t let that first day’s delay dampen our enthusiasm, although we did have to make some changes to the plan to make it in time. We carried on our hike the following days with renewed energy, admiring the breathtaking scenery of wide empty fields, where you might not see another person for hours. Green hills and beautiful woods which might make you feel part of a fairy tale and delightful experiences with friends, late-night conversations and echoing laughter were more than enough to make up for our tired and aching muscles at the end of each day. We found a good spot for setting up our tents and cooking our meals, while doing our best to get rid of the persistent midges, which annoyingly seemed to be totally unphased by our bug spray.
The final day, camping at Aviemore, was a mixture of feelings. The feeling of completing what was a great challenge for all of us was extremely gratifying and we learned we were able to push ourselves further than we could have imagined and to deal with unforeseen conditions. Although we’d be grateful to return to our comfortable beds, knowing it was the end of those wonderful days made that last night bittersweet, although it was nothing the beautiful coach ride back the next day couldn’t distract us from. As a team, we'd like to thank the Mark Evison Foundation for providing us with the opportunity to have this amazing experience.
Amanda, Oscar and Tasha.