Welcome to the official blog for Raleigh India 12I | July - August 2012

Welcome to the Official Blog for Raleigh India 12J September - December 2012.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Phase three so far

Charlie One

22/08/10 - 28/08/10

The new bunch of Charlies visited Muttilmoola, a model village in Tamil Nadu, where in partnership with CTRD Raleigh previously built housing for the Kattanayakan tribal people. It being festival time, the group also had the rare opportunity to watch a man drink chicken's blood. It is not known whether the venturers followed suit.


We are pleased to report that the school's roof was completed on the 25th August.  With little time to rest on their laurels, the Charlies kept their work gloves on and began plastering the school walls, which they were all a dab hand at given their experience in making porridge in the morning. Having raised the roof in Koolal, celebrations were rounded off with tribal dancing.

Back to work, the rain fell heavily today as the group finished the inside plastering and the two outside walls. The scaffolding has been taken down and the Charlies are looking forward to living it up on their day out tomorrow.


Echo Two

According to sources, this resounding group have made amazing progress in the trenches of Huskurhadi.  A booming voiced Scotsman (Scott) declared that 40m of trench had been dug. Not on your nelly!

Elephants were sighted in the area and a night watch was organised by the villagers to ensure that the pachyderms stayed away from Camp Coco,  leaving the Echoes sleeping soundly in their comfy bashas.

Digging a more realistic 10km of trench on the 27th, the group are today taking it easy with a visit to the  Golden Temple, Bylakuppe.


Tango Three

Up at 4:30am on the 23rd August, Tango eased into their walking boots with a 4km trek. The next day they took on a 21km trek. Survival day followed with the group split into two tribes showcasing their camp craft skills.

Rambling on through Kerala's majestic scenery, Tango trekked 2km to Lakeside and set up camp. Putting their feet up the following day, the group enjoyed a day of splashy fun building their own rafts. Relaxed and refreshed, the trekkers emerged today from their tents for a 06:00 start. After a 24km trek in the heat and rain they arrived at Shantaparam campsite in fine form.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Wish you were here?

Are you reading this from home, wishing you could be the one out on expedition?

Raleigh is currently recruiting volunteer managers to help run some of their biggest expeditions ever in 2011 in Borneo, Costa Rica & Nicaragua and India. If you are 25 years old or over, you could join our expeditions as a volunteer manager.

Volunteer managers: step by step

As a volunteer manager you could be out working on a remote project with 12-15 young people, or assisting the organisational side of the expedition in a field based role such as communications, administration, logistics, finance or photography. Tempted? Visit our website for more information: www.raleighinternational.org/our-expeditions/aged-25-and-over or call 020 7183 1295.

A chilled out Dr Ken and crew

Volunteer managers come from many different backgrounds, so whatever your skills and experience, it is likely that there is a role suitable for you on expedition. If you would like to find out more about the different roles feel free to phone Sophie or Catherine in head office for a chat about the options!

 Annette gives expedition life the thumbs up

Sunday 22 August 2010

The Return of 10E

Fresh from the trenches of Huskurhadi, Louise, medic and project manager, reports on sensational changeover celebrations:

Field base is a hive of activity once again with the return of our 10E venturers from Koolal, Huskurhadi and Kerala. After a much needed shower our teams headed to Mysore for a decadent afternoon of pizza, ice-cream, fizzy drinks and retail therapy.

The evening's entertainment, hosted by Eddie and Robin, introduced a competitive element with team games interspersed between the skits. The prize: a full English cooked breakfast. The teams had everything to play for! 

The field base team kicked off the evening with a glamorous portrayal of 1930s colonial India, and a delightful dance celebrating the joys of a cup of tea. Charlie One wowed the crowd with technology, bringing us live footage of the latest breaking news from Koolal; Natalie finally finishing her book, Scott's new arrival, and the mysterious beast inhabiting one of the group's tents.  Echo Two delivered a winning wildlife documentary about the little-known Echosaurus tribe, hosted by George Otakatakaquango (aka. Luke) standing in fortuitously for the kidnapped David Attenborough (aka. Shane). Tango Three's reminiscence of their phase featured star performances by Tom Leech and Lucas Leech who quite literally swept young Anna off her feet.  Thanks to a combination of good teamwork, speedy water-drinking and precision buttock-clenching, the prize breakfast went to Tango Three.

Anita looking hot in her turban
Helen aka. Muddy Bum drops the penny inches from the cup
Leeches attack unlucky Anna in Tango Three
Lucas, Paul  and Sacha-Li (below)  drink their way to the top

The judges concentrate hard while attempting to add up the final scores

On day two our weary field base team handed over the reins to the graduates, who organised a unique sports day, a delicious barbecue and a cinema evening. The day's events included chapatti tossing, water filling and carrying, a sleeping bag race and the lentil and spoon obstacle course. Even our taste buds were exercised with the blindfolded tasting competition. The final decider was the tug of war, where Tango Three pulled together to prove their post-trekking fitness, and sealed the overall win.

Fill up those jerry cans!
Julie, Sacha-Li, Vijay and Natalie have finally flipped!

Open wide, Scott, for a mouthful of condensed milk, soyatein and creamed sweetcorn. Yum yum!
Hold on to your lentils!
After tucking in to kebabs, burgers and lashings of ketchup, we headed to the roof with our sleeping bags and popcorn for an evening of cinematic entertainment.  'Slumdog Millionaire' appropriately headed the bill, followed by 'Anchor Man' for those of us not too stuffed with sweets and good food to stay awake.

Yesteday morning we headed to the local temple for the group photo, followed by some (hopefully unsurprising) allocations.

We can now exclusively reveal the groups for phase three:
Heading down to Koolal for Charlie One are:


Anna Lavelle
Boas Schraven
Stuart Aitken
Helen Wakefield
Stephen Fung
Lucas Pyke
Mary Jennings
Rachel Bachar
Sacha-Li Franks
Shona Bradford
Vijay R

Project Managers

Julie Montgomery
Joanna Hawtin

Off to Huskahardi for Echo Two are:


Carole Griffiths
Daniel Cabral
Gemma Lyons
Kyle Sharpe
Louise Norris
Paul Mohan
Scott Moffat
Taylor Eve
Tom Pearce
Vicky Gould
Will Whyles

Project Managers

Anita Walker
Nick Bevens

Trekking down to Kerala for Tango Three are:


Luke Conibear
Ben Hedley
David Warburton
Kiana Franks
Yvette Hutcheson
Jason Greenwood
Natalie Dilloway
Grace Rosier-Blackman
Murugan S
Lucy Jiang

Project Managers

Clare Templar
Shane Shehade
Robin Scanlon

We wish all the teams good luck for what promises to be a fantastic final phase!

Friday 20 August 2010

Foxtrot Adventure Challenge!

View from Anthony's Camp (fieldbase)

Over the last 7 days the Foxtrot groups have been competing against one another for the title of 'Adventure Challenge Foxtrot Winner'. The challenges have been a well kept secret with even the project managers kept in the dark.  A friendly agent has been delivering mission envelopes in the evening which outline the groups challenge for the next day. 

Tom and Justin mid trek

Sats and Grace prepare against leeches

Foxtrot 2's massage chain

Foxtrot 3 excited to start the Cycle Challenge

Cycling through lush tea plantations

Tom, Sats & Me (Hannah)

Woop, woop! Elephants!

Tom kayaking

Raft paddling

Sunday 15 August 2010

10E round-up

We're more than half-way through phase two. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? Meanwhile at field base, it's been busy, busy, busy with plenty of comings and goings. But grabbing the keyboard with intent I (Marie) now bring you the news and messages.

01/08/10 - 13/08/10

Charlie One

Our new bunch of Charlies arrived safely in Koolal tribal village on the 1st August, accompanied by logistics manager extraordinaire, Jen. On the coach journey the group caught a glimpse of elephants. Arriving at the project site they caught sight of a whole lot of mud. The Charlies quickly set about putting tents up and digging trenches around them to keep dry. Attempts to keep clean proved futile and once the group had accpeted that fact, mud fights ensued!

Murugan's birthday on the 3rd August was celebrated with a banoffee pie and games. The next day it was Ben's birthday so a joint birthday party was held with tribal music and a 4kg cake. Earlier, the Charlies soaked up the torrential rain as they laid the foundations for a toilet. A day trip took the group to the Centre for Tribals and Rural Development (CTRD) to see a biogas plant - everyone was happy to escape the mud and to be clean and nicely dressed for a few hours! The Charlies also enjoyed a trip to the town of Sultan Battery in Kerala and a wildlife sanctuary.

Back on the project site a day was spent mixing cement, the floor of the school is near completion and the masons have begun working on the roof.

Messages from Charlie One


Dear Mum,

It was good to speak to you and Ed yesterday even though it was brief. Forgot to say to Ed please tell Dad I tried to call. Also send my love to Grandma - I hope she is recovering well. I hope Frances is OK too. Lots of love to you all. I am having a good time. Even though we are living in a mud pit I am enjoying the lack of leeches. Speak soon. Missing you all. Love Louise xxx



It's Yvette here! Was good talking to you yous yesterday! Gutted didn't speak to you Michael but I'm happy you managed to tape your TV thing - I was worried it was gonna be Crimewatch lol! Keep writing on the blog, get the packages in and send lots of sweeties! I love you all and missing yous loads and see you in less than 5 weeks!! Big hugs and kisses!

P.S. So proud of my 2 sisters and their smarts! Congratulations on passing your exams girls!



Hiya everyone! Thank you for all my messages, keep them coming. Thanks Lyn for my message good to know your coping without me :-) Nicola I was gutted up you didn't answer the other day, heard you had the kids as well. Bad times. Can I have some more pictures of everyone please, I'm missing you all loads. I'm doing well not got ill yet, and not too bad blisters. Having a great time out here with everyone. Don't worry 'bout me. Love you all, Natalie xxxx xxxx

P.S. Chloe have a sexy holiday and send your juicy goss asap. Love love.


Happy Birthday Murugan!

Happy Birthday Ben!

Louise and Gemma shifting sand

Yvette, Will and Scott take a break

Taylor and Nat take a breather too

Told you it was muddy

Charlie One jump to it

01/08/10 - 13/08/10

Echo Two

Lucky Echoes inherited a lovely campsite in Huskurhadi which they are putting their own stamp on. The beloved bashas had to be adjusted or reassembled before snooze time and once this task was accomplished the Echoes hot-footed it down to the reservoir for a splish splash. Upon their return they began digging a long drop. You may recall that the previous Echoes won the prestigious Golden Toilet Brush for their long drop artistry. Will Camp Coco's new residents also be flushed with success?

Despite it being monsoon season the group has enjoyed a good spell of hot weather. Cooling off in the reservoir is part of the daily routine, as the group set to work digging trenches at 6am and finishing before midday to avoid toiling during the hottest part of the day. A weekly treat is shopping for vegetables in Sargur for the creation of tasty camp cuisine. On the 2nd August, Camp Coco celebrated Luke's 21st birthday. Mary and Helen made him a tasty birthday cake and he was given a container of assorted sweets from field base.

Well-deserved rest days were spent at the Buddhist Golden Temple and Tibetan Refugee Settlement in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, and the Sringapatram Bird Sanctuary.

The Echoes have now dug all the holes for the fencing poles and dug 65m of trench. I had the pleasure of staying with Echo Two for a few days and will publish my memoirs shortly.

Breaking news: An investigation has been launched following the collapse of one of Echo Two's bashas. Unable to withstand a gust of wind it collapsed in a heap. It is not known whether the occupant was on the basha at the time. The victim is none too pleased with the camp craft of the basha's original occupant and is intent on discovering theiridentity. When the suspect was questioned by the comms officer, they responded with peals of villainous laughter.

Messages from Echo Two


Happy Birthday Ben! Hope you have a great day. Thanks everyone for you messages, I'm having an awesome time now digging elephant trenches in Huskurhadi. Miss you all. Bonjour, Luke x



Hello everyone at home, this experience is amazing: at the moment I'm doing the environmental phase where I'm digging elephant trenches, also I'm up at 5am and work at 6 till 11:30am and then I'm chilling out by the reservoir. How's thing at home and write back. See you all soon. Love from Jason x



Archer Hill, my gnarly bandy, I hope you see this message as you coast through the site as I know you are. Hunting for any comments that might be left to you. I got your letter. Great stuff - you rule. Just to let you know, I sent my reply. Hope you get it soon. I know you're in Guyana so it may take a while for you to get it but it's cool. Mean thing about the sandwich from Delicious bit. Mean. It's definately on my list of things to eat when I get back. If I could have one now I would. As my song title goes, "I could if I would but I can't so I won't." Savage stuff. Have fun without me. I'll be back before you know it.

Mom, hey! I finally got that d and v. Getting better though...I think. Stomach still isn't up to par but getting there. See you next month.

Sincerely yours guitarist,


P.S. Hey Pa; daddy still thinking of that les paul :-) I've taken a few nice pictures since Inida but nothing too serious. Sometimes I just can't bother though the scenery is lovely.  I hope you are still planning that snowboarding trip but we'll talk more later. Bye, Kiana



Mama! Dea! and friends, missing you all immensely although I'm still taking it all in and think about you all everyday. I'm on the second phase which is environmental where I'm helping to dig large elephant trenches. This phase is not as muddy as community but the rain is still here. Hope your being a good girl Dea, aunty loves and misses you loads. Talk to you soon, take care of yourself Mama xoxo



Happy Birthday Luke!

Camp cookery with Helen and Mary

Stephen, get out of the long drop!

Off to work they go

An entrenched Reuna and Kiana

01/08/10 - 13/08/10

Tango Three

After 1.5 days travel,  fleet-footed Tango were dropped off in the Silent Valley, a unique preserve of rainforest. Arrivingsafely at Anthony's Camp they were treated to some dinner and yoga - but not at the same time. Buffetted by wind and rain, they summitted Misappulimala the second highest peak in southern India and relaxed as the sun set over the water.Elephants were in the area but they didn't pop in to say hello.

On the 5th August the group journeyed to Lakeside, where they built rafts and floated down the Anaerangal lake.Our intrepid trekkers then embarked on a 24km trek. On completion everyone was tired but happy and a food drop was warmly received as Tango arrived at Shantapara Camp.

The next four days saw the group ramble through the majestsic scenery of Chaturangappara, Pushpakandam, Karunapuram and Swttithuzhi. A rest day followed and then a day out in Kumili, where the group finally got to say hello to elephants. It is not known what the elephants said in return.

This phase the loop (field base's visits to project sites) didn't make it as far as Kerala so unfortunately at this point we currently have photos to share with you. However, messages will be coming through soon and rest assured, Tango Three are having a great time and are as happy as can be.

Northumberland bid farewell

After a whirlwind three week expedition, the Raleigh Fieldbase team bid farewell to the 12 member Northumberland team, who are today making their back to the UK. 

Emily teaching the local kids

The group completed the planned ten toilets in Telugu Masahalli adding to the existing units built by previous Raleigh groups and in doing so helping this community to reach their goal of safe sanitation for all.   

Dave discusses the meaning of life with a Budhist Monk

Rich the toilet making pro!
From digging the foundations to laying the brickwork to the final plastering and paint job, the group worked incredibly hard to finish all loos on time. It wasn't all work though, afterall the expedition was as much about getting a unique taste and understanding of India.  Cricket games with locals, endless games of ring-a-rosy with the local kids, nightime fun within the group and some interesting day trips all added to the experience. 

Despite the five hour round trip everyone agreed that the trip to the Golden Temples was well worth it.  The Budhist Monestry is home to some 500 monks exhiled from Tiebet and the group were lucky enough to have their own private tour from one of the devotees. 

On Sunday it was time to head to the neighbouring state of Kerala and embark on a three day advenventure challenge.  Known as the Spice Mountain Challenge the group enjoyed some of the most stunning scenery to be found in Southern India including tea planatations, rice paddies, jungle and the rolling Wayanad Plains.  A major bonus in this monsoon season was the absence of rain not one drop and just a couple of leeches

The journey back to fieldbase took them through a wildlife reserve where they finally spotted the elephants which they have been desperate to see. 

A couple of days here with us - a night of our infamous Crystal Maze, some sightseeing and shopping in Mysore and our adventurers were off again to embark on their bus, train, bus, plane journey back to the UK.

We wish you all well and thank you for being part of Raleigh India.