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Early Bird Catches the Worm!

“Way too keen in my opinion”! That’s how Joe felt about the few eager HSX members who decided to make the annual pilgrimage to the Lake District earlier this year, to embark on a wild camping micro-adventure.

Normally we’d leave our homes on Thursday night, arriving at Great Tower Scout Activity Centre in the early hours of Friday morning, ready to hit the Lakeland Fells for the Easter Weekend. However Chris, having convinced his HSX Patagonia 2017 expedition leader and a couple of companions, braved the Thursday morning rush-hour traffic, eventually heading into the Langdales, for some much needed team bonding and Mountain Leader practice. Undeterred by the overcast conditions, the team headed into the fells, micro-navigating to Angle Tarn, where they set up camp for the night, bagging a series of peaks in the blistering early morning sunshine before the inevitable rain set in again!

The Ad+Venture trip is the most popular trip outside of Hampshire, and this year saw a strong turnout of 44 members, comprising of the Cambodia 2016 expedition, Patagonia 2017 leader team, Antarctica team and other HSX members. Needless to say packing this many adventurers into such a small space generate quite a lot of excitement, with lots of adventures being planned in spite of the miserable conditions.

The plan for the weekend saw Matt spent time with his Cambodia team as the expedition leader, maintaining contact time with his team, which makes a massive difference when on expedition. There would be no rest of the rest of the Antarctica team however, which saw them divide their time between their own personal goals and Antarctica tasks.

On Good Friday Joe took two under 18s multi-pitch climbing on White Ghyll crag, practising for his MIA assessment, whilst Dave took a group single pitch climbing on Scout crag and Ollie went fell-running around the Fairfield Horseshoe. This was the best day weather wise, feeling like and early summer’s morning. However, with dark clouds looming the rain soon rolled in, bringing an end to the day’s activities by mid-afternoon. For some of the under 18’s it was the first day they had been climbing and it was great that the Antarctica team could help facilitate this.

Saturday saw Chris, Joe and Ollie run the Kentmere ring, one of the most scenic circular routes you can do in the Lake District… if you can see it! They were joined by Alan, Jamie and Ross, who all braved the deteriorating weather conditions, enduring horizontal rain, howling gales and stinging hail. Covering 26km and over 1300m of ascent in just over the 4 hours, this was a good pace and the team were happy with their performance, giving them a boost of confidence for their up and coming Jurassic Triple. However all was well once the team had gone into Ambleside for some post run rehydration! But don’t judge we, of course we had our post run chocolate milk, as ordered by our sports nutritionist Dr Hill from Solent University.

If the team thought they got wet on Saturday, then Sunday was going to bring them another slap in the face. This time rain and hail gave way to strong winds and snow up on the hills of the Lake District. Joe went out with two under 18s for a scramble on Harrison Stickle, which is just west of Pavey Ark. Ollie and Chris opted for a lower level walk helping people practise for their ML assessments, teaching micro navigation and flora and fauna identification. Normally focussing on lichens, mosses, birds and the odd small mammal, the team almost stepped on an Adder making the most of the basking opportunities between the heavy downpours!

Not wanting to rest on our laurels, the evening were packed with practised presentations for our Cotswold presentations, planning our training for the year ahead and discussing our sponsorship strategy and where we’re going for the next year. This side of our the expedition planning is just as important as getting out and training in the mountains, and it was also a big moral boost knowing the ball is rolling quite well at the moment with exciting trips, challenges and events lined for this year.

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