GoPro Winner - September - Connor Hastie
The first of many great adventures in my life (hopefully)
How many of you dream of travelling the world and doing things you can only imagine as you look out to the gloom and rain? Well my dream started to become a reality when I was chosen for the overseas expedition with the ATC, to the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains.
We had no particular aim, other than to develop life experience and pursue our adventurous spirit, which entailed fantastic opportunities and activities for the duration of our two week trip.
We were a group of 14 cadets, along with 3 members of qualified staff.
We flew out at the beginning of August, setting up camp on arrival, then getting to sleep after 8 hours travelling. I remember waking up and seeing the breathtaking scenery, huge craggy rock faces, smattered with deep green trees and faded shrubbery. The sun took some time to reach us in the valley and I watched as the light crept down the mountain side in the mornings. Nothing in the UK comes close.
We kicked off the first day with a climbing session on a rock face used by local climbers. The pride of reaching the top bolt, combined with euphoric views as you abseil down resulted in a truly incredible adventure itself. We also went swimming in glacial lakes (which were warmer than the public swimming pool) and warmer waters out of the mountains.
The primary focus of the trip was of course to ascend mountains, with a few overnight expeditions attempting 3000m peaks (Pico de Possets). We did many day walks going up 2600m and 2700m peaks with very little baggage. The first attempt of a larger peak failed due to intense heat, however we ploughed on with a second attempt a few days later. The weather did not permit us to go very far, but nevertheless the sights were unimaginably epic. In the end, it snowed 8 inches above 3000m, which infuriatingly prevented our 4 day expedition, but it was even more of an adventure in itself, at times we couldn’t see our own hands due to the cloud we were in, other we craved to find shade from the relentless sun, but all the time smiling, plodding on.
and The End
A key highlight was we went white-water-rafting, something not widely available where we live and it was well worth the extra funds we saved. Putting aside the holes in H&S, the experience was an unforgettable adrenaline fuelled adventure.
The trip ended with a day to Montserrat, a beautiful monk monastery built into a large rock formation, north of Barcelona.
I highly recommend the Pyrenees as an adventure seeker, go summer or winter, there’s always chance for adventure.
To end this tale, a teacher at school has a picture of a mountaineer looking down, with a quote that ran through my head everyday:
"Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world"
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