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

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

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Sometimes it takes 6 to tango

Our ad-hoc visitors team Sam, Reggie, and Big Manju have not only brought back Photographer Bob from the wild of Southern India, but also a little jewel in the form of a guest blog from venturer Katherine Arnot, photos, and the venturers’ (and PMs') messages to friends and family. Enjoy the read! 

Guestblogger Katherine Arnot
Only a couple of days into our Tango 6 trek, and it already feels as if we have been moving for weeks. We started in high spirits with a perilous three-day coach trip, involving worrying narrow hairpin bends and several near head-on collisions, but finally strapped on our heavy backpacks full of food and medical kits to begin our adventure with Brijesh and Manoj, our guides.
Our journey in the Western Ghats so far has been short but very full-on. Tackling the second highest mountain in Southern India on our second day proved to be a challenge for all of us. We were walking up what seemed to be vertical hills. However, the sense of euphoria on approaching the top as we marched up through the clouds banished any memory of struggle from our minds. We were on top of the world and suddenly the tiredness which had been holding us back lifted and the last few steps to the top became effortless. We continued with an equally steep descent through the vast and beautiful tea plantations. The day was nicely finished off with a bumpy jeep ride accompanied by Indian techno music.

An easy start...

... getting steeper...

...on top of the world!

Campsite with a view
The experience was followed by a “Survival Day” on which – through great effort – we managed to build a sleeping shelter out of bamboo and coconut leaves and to kill and prepare a chicken in the heat of the day. 
High class eco-dormitory for 11 persons
On day 5 we finally went rafting, an experience everyone had been looking forward to. After a short trek we had to work out how to build a raft out of bamboo, string and rubber rings. Having set up two rafts, which seemed sturdy enough, we set off for our 4km journey; our biggest challenge and accomplishment so far. We had no idea how difficult it would be until we found ourselves paddling with all our strength, only to realise we hadn’t moved a single inch for ten minutes. Thank you very much headwind! However, in the Raleigh spirit - instead of giving up and declaring ourselves too tired to carry on - we powered through and with motivation, determination, and a lot of groaning we succeeded in reaching the end. We celebrated with a lovely evening around the campfire, all exhausted but ready for more trekking tomorrow. So far, this experience has been something which none of us had imagined and we can’t wait what the next two weeks have in store.

And now... Messages written at an altitude of 2640 m / 8661 feet (I really liked the handwriting and I was afraid to get the Dutch part wrong. I also like MS Paint and putting hearts on selected scribbly bits.) :
From Amanda ( This is for you Manda: :oP )

From Beatrice

From Katherine

From Nicole

From Sophia

From Ursula


  1. Kaywell Outerbridge22 February 2012 at 20:36

    Hey Mandisa;
    Hoping you are doing well in India, and that your journey over went well. What was the flying time from Heathrow?? Did you get to spend time in London prior to your departure to India? What part of India are you in and look forward to hearing all about this fantastic experience upon your return.

  2. Message for Matt USherwood in Tango 5.

    Hi Matt,
    We are all missing you loads. I am missing our chats, and popping over to mum and dads to see you and chase you around the kitchen with a wound up tea towel/cowering in the corner as I realise you always win tea-towel fights and I shouldn't have started it! I have even come up with a new addition to our sibling offensive name calling list... so here it goes...

    Hey 'Sausage Fingers'

    Fine it sounded better when I heard it first time round. I know I know I can do better!

    Sooo the news from the Clug household...

    Well if I hadn't told you already I didn't get the job in Southampton. I feel relived which shows it probably wasn't for me.

    Doug and I went on an adventure to Hatten Garden (where Dad bought Mums engagament ring) in London and we bought our wedding rings which were made up for us and arrived last week!

    What else... umm ....

    Doug is in London this week working at the Olympics test event and has left me on my sod.. well actually Nala is keeping me company! Nala says hi *meoooooeeewww*

    Oh I know, more news...

    I have been invited to go for a second interview with the power company in Loughborough either this Wed or the one after. Oh and also I have applied for another job in Derby with a contractor we use at the moment for a job very similar to mine.

    We visited Melbourne just South of Derby on the weekend to see whether it is a nice place to live if I get the Loughborough job and it is lovely :-)

    I think that is all of our news. I hope that you are having a great time and are enjoying being a PM. I am checking the blog every day for updates and can't wait to see a picture! I am missing you loads. Can't wait to chat on your return to fieldbase :-)

    I spoke to Mum and Dad today but i'll let them tell you their news. They are both well and happy :-)

    Love you lots and lots,
    Clare xxxxx

  3. For SOFIAAAAA in Tango 6:
    That photo of you is gold. I approve of your smiths t shirt. WE ALL LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU, hope it's going amazingly. Eve xxx

  4. Sofia Karasinski, Tango 6
    Hello Sofia!
    I hope you're well and enjoying your trek!! I'd forgotten you were going to India - hopefully you're getting all your vitamin D - it is such horrible weather here at the moment...
    I have just started semester 2 - respiratory, cardiovascular and renal, it is very interesting, but a lot of work! Tomorrow I get to examine more patients, which is definitely the best bit of the course!
    This week has been one of those crazily busy weeks, I'm doing a dance show on Friday and Saturday so have had rehersals sunday, monday and thursday and then the show friday and saturday - all work seems to have gone out the window... And I get semester 1 results back tomorrow - fingers crossed.
    It looks like you're having an amazing time, hope the trek is going/went well and you're feet are ok! Stay safe, can't wait to catch up soon (Easter?!). Love Catherine van't Hoff xxx

  5. Dear Jonny ( Tango 5 )
    I hope this message finds you well and happy and that the T5 trek was a-maz-ing !
    All is well here - the snow has all gone and I am getting out and about ! I had supper with Frankie a couple of days ago and the Mysore meet-up is arranged. You will also be pleased to know that Milly, Molly and Mandy are still alive and well and have not yet been set upon by any passing Trekers looking for a quick meal ! No eggs yet though !
    Missing you loads ...love you lots Mumxx

  6. Hi Natalie (PM Turtles)- small world, Mat Usherwood (PM Treck)is the son of a neighbour of Liz Sheehan our very good friend and bridge partner!
    Elizabeths' invites go out tomorrow.
    lots love
    mother father and "smiler B"

  7. SOFIA!!! it looks like you are having an amazing time!! its so awesome that both of us are now traveling when before we talked so much about how excited we were!!!!!!!! the photo of you in the water flipping your hair is my FAVE! lots and lots and LOTS of love cant wait to hear all about it when youre back!!! Ali Levin xxxxxxxxxxxxx :D

  8. Katherine! its stells :)
    hope you're well,
    those photos are amaaazing! you're clearly having such an incredible time, and am sooo proud of you for doing this (not so jealous about that mountain you had to climb up though :P)! miss you an insane amount and think of you every single day!!
    lots and lots of love x x x x x
    (ps looking good in the above photo! model agencies here we come!! :P )

  9. MCFC update for Barney. City cruise through to Europa last 16 with a 4-0 victory over Porto. Heavy rain, but a goal by Kun after just 19 seconds, setted ud down and 3 second half goals by Dzeks, Silva and the Pizzaman made it easy. Bring os Lisbon or Warsaw.

    Hope all is going well, it certainly looks like it.


  10. Annelies Kuijs boogert23 February 2012 at 14:28

    Waw Beatrice we zijn trots op je!!!! Cool dat je met rugzak door die bergen loopt, en zoveel doet en meemaakt, nauwelijks twee weken van huis.
    Je mist ons niet, snap ik helemaal, wij jou een Beetje en Maus ook!
    Pieter Jan zegt vet cool wat je doet.
    Wij gaan overmorgen naar Flims en lekker hebben er zin, in jouw plaats gaat Chris mee.
    Doeg en dikke knuffel, van ons en de poezen!

  11. Sofia,

    Thank you for your lovely hand written note to Mummy and me. We are so happy that you fell in love with India. Your trek looks fabulous!!!

    We are visiting Henley on Thames for this coming weekend. Will be staying overnight on Saturday with the Kunhkes.

    Yesterday was Mummy event with LibDems and Danny Alexander was the featured guest.

    Lots of love,

  12. For Ursula - Tango 6:

    Fairlie this looks like you are having such an amazing trip and all the pictures look so amazing! Who would have thought you would be climbing mountains like that after Duke of Edinburgh... How was the chicken situation (we all know you have issues with birds)? Anyway, keep having fun and enjoying it! Lots of Love, Frances xxxxxxxxxx

  13. opa klaas en oma sini23 February 2012 at 17:42

    eline de vries ECHO 3
    lieve eline
    we zijn blij dat je het heel gezellig hebt in india.
    gaat het goed met de verzorging van de schilpadden?
    Hier is carnaval goed verlopen.al was het weer wel wisselend. zo begon de optocht met een fikse sneeuwbui. later brak de zon gelukkig door en werd de temperatuur beter. maar tegen het einde sneeuwde het weer. de optocht was overigens goed verzorgd. tim had ook wat delftse vrienden meegenomen om wat van carnaval te proeven.wij gaan zaterdag voor twee weken naar champery met mijn broers en zus met echtgenoten zoals ieder jaar.al wordt het aan tal skiers wel steeds minder. naar wandelen en in de zon op terrasjes zitten is ook gezellig.
    we wensen je nog een heel gezellige en leerzame tijd toe. veel plezier. hartelijke groeten opa en oma XXX

  14. Waw fantastisch!!! Trots op coole Beatrice!
    Je bent een kanjer!
    We missen je een Beetje, Maus jou heel veel
    Zaterdag naar Zwitserland Chris gaat mee in jouw plaats, straks naar Istanbul
    Morgen terug.
    Iedereen vraagt naar je? Wil je dat ik iets op je Facebook zet?
    Love you kid

  15. Katherine Arnot in Tango 6.

    KATHERINE! Hello!

    I just had this sudden realisation that I can message you on this! It looks like you are having an absolutely fantastic time, and I can just imagine you trekking it up!

    I'm just off to the pub so can't write a long one, but you may be lucky enough to get a letter from me soon ;)

    Missing you loads here.

    Clauds xxxx


    Hey Max! Guy here. Happy Birthday! Plenty of sunshine here in London today - the sun must have know you were turning 21...Grandma is back home in Wales, safe and sound. Mum finally managed to see a decent film on Orange Wednesday, and I'm finishing off an essay for Uni due in sometime tomorrow...whoops. All is well here and I hope it's good in India too - I imagine that the locals have already garlanded you in flowers and that you've managed to avoid falling off any mountains like your idiot bro! We all look forward to seeing you, so that you can recount all your fantastic adventures. Love, G x

    Happy Birthday Max! Love Pa

  17. To Ursula (Tango6)

    Sounds like you are all having an amazing time. Katherine has written a great blog to let us know what you are all going through. Looking at the picture of you all walking up through the tea plantation with your rucksacks got me thinking of climbing Bennachie but when it is much hotter and more humid and with an enormous weight on your backs!

    We love the letters. Your letter especially made us smile, especially the bit about the chickens and farm animals!

    Things have been a bit hectic since you left. Harriet came to stay with us during the week after you left as she had holiday that she had to take before the end of February. I have had a busy time at work and was in Glasgow for a day. I also spent a day in Knockroon. I spoke to William tonight and he says that he may get a run-out for the 1sts at Broughton Park. We all have tickets to see Scotland vs France this weekend at Murrayfield, but I suspect that Mum and I will struggle to get there. William is coming up and going to stay with Harriet.

    The weather today has been lovely (16 degrees C - which is hot for this time of year in Aberdeen)! Apparently it is not going to last!

    Everyone has been asking after you and we have even tried to get Granny to log on to the blog! May succeed with a post before you come home!

    Keep the messages coming - its a great way to keep in touch.

    Love you lots


  18. Katherine Arnot - Tango 6

    Hi Squidge,

    Thoroughly jealous of you whenever I logon and read your blog! It looks like you are having THE best time... but I wonder if you are sick of those bags of rice they give you on trek?
    Things are going swimmingly in Scotland - golfing at least twice a week, eating like a King and drinking lots of wine. Found a new competition in Bordeaux so working quite hard to get St Andrews included in that...
    Got a funfunfun weekend lined up with one of the Fashion shows - and maybe a pier jump? Mo paid me a flying visit the other day, she was looking very tanned but had some worryingly radical views... Hmm.

    Lots of love, Noggin


  19. Steve Echo 3

    Hey Chikki.

    I hope everything is going well! I have been paid again, so I am now out of my overdraft - thought you would like to know..

    I thought I would give you an update on footy - Blues drew 1-1 away at Chelsea in the FA Cup! We almost won it (Chelsea are on a very poor run!), but now have a replay at home to them on the 6th March. If we beat them, then we have Leicester at home in the Quarter finals - if we beat them - we are off to Wembley again for the FA Cup semi-final!!! Can you believe it! We are now 15 games unbeaten, having beat Barnsley away 3-1. We have also signed two new players and are currently third in the table!

    With regards to Villa...not a lot has happened (as it was FA cup last week). You are playing Wigan at home tomorrow, so ill txt you the final score. That's Robbie Keanes last game - but he hinted he may want to return after the MLS season.

    That's it for footy! not alot really - apart from how amazing Blues are atm.

    I hope you are having an amazing time mate, we all miss you back home. Stay safe chikki bunraa.

    We await the return of our Zine God.

    Love you lots



  20. For Ursula - Tango 6:

    Fairlie this looks so amazing and that view must have been out of this world, a far cry for the Duke of Edinburgh days in Scotland! Hope you are having a bundle of fun in all that sunshine (there was a vague glimmer of sun in Scumdee today which was a pleasant surprise). Its Joanna's birthday tomorrow so I'll send her a happy birthday from you too. Not much exciting chat to tell you, I'm off to York next weekend which will hopefully be good. Anyway, bye for now, lots of love, Frances xxxxxxxxxx

  21. Rebecca Massey (Tango 5)

    Hope all is well, we are missing you loads - the house feels very empty, but as a result mum has been buying cinnamon grahams to keep us happy :)
    Anyway wanted to let you know that I have just sent you a very long and extremely well-informed letter to fill you in on the events in the massey household.
    Sending loads and loads of love
    Imo xxxxxxxxxx (your favourite..and only sister)

  22. Further imoportant MCFC updates for Barney on Tango 6. City keep up the pressure with a comfy 3-0 win over Blackburn. Mario, first half and Kun and Dzeks second. David Silva in a sky blue shirt. It's what dreams are made of. Perhaps Norwich can do us a favour against the SBs tomorrow.


  23. Dan Wiseman
    Echo 3.
    Hi dan Hope your long trip up the coast was not too bad & you took in all the great sights india has to offer.Have been looking on google earth and the location by the ocean looks fantastic where your based at the mo & am sure your enjoying yourself and have made many new friends, at least there is plenty of easy digging there with all that sand for your little trowel lol....
    All things back here are good but very busy simon has been down this weekend and asking after you says he will write you a message on the blog site.Also hope the camera is working overtime and we can all look at your pictures when you return.
    love Dad,Andrea & smelly maizy.

  24. Ursula - Tango 6

    Fairlie!! So Mum told me about this website and I am very excited about the fact that I am going to be able to keep an eye on you and check you are still behaving yourself as always! Looks like you are having a lot of fun and it looks amazing- very jealous!! We are obviously all missing you lots over here (wherever we are). So I finally made it to the big 1 8 yesterday.. where have the years gone?! Wasn't the same without you and a certain other person but we will celebrate when we are all back in the same land! Thank you so much for the present and card!! Miss you!! Bye for noww!

    Love you lots Joannaa xxxxx

  25. Hi Ursula (Tango 6)

    How incredible you whole adventure sounds. I love following what is going on!! It sounds like an amazing other world!

    Dad has had to take over many of the household duties over the last week and, from what I can see, he seems to be doing a pretty good job! I had appointments with various medical consultants a week ago, and one of them thought that I should be seen in hospital - and that's where I have been ever since. I was feeling pretty awful when I arrived, but things have now settled down and I am being kept in really just for observation and to make sure it is all OK. The problem is that I have Pancreatitis, which is an inflamation of the Pancreas. It is amazing when you tell people about it because there are so many other people who have had it before, for example Maire's sister had it about 8 years ago.

    Anyway, I am hopefully on the mend now and it just takes time - and as you know I am not great at waiting for things!! I will keep you posted but there is absolutely nothing to worry about and you will probably have to put up with more of Dad's chat on the blog for just now. Dad has got good chat from Anthony and Mary - I hope he blogs about that!

    Love you so so much and am so so proud of you. mxxxx

  26. Amanda Robinson Tango 6

    Jimonus. Hope that you are well.. saw you looking hot and cool in photos so thought I would send you a little message to say hello... Have been quite busy over the last week sorting out things with NISCU and having a hand over so that the new person is not too unfamiliar with everything... It is a bit of a relief to know that I no longer have to deal with the ledger. tee hee. I have been sorting out my stuff at field close and have been a bit tearful at times, as it feels like the end of a chapter.. but new things await and I am feeling quite excited about that.

    Missing you loads and hope that you are ok...Saffie is still cute although has a scab near her eye.. which made mum respond that we only hug her when she is beautiful. We went to visit a jacquie and that was a lovely visit.. possibly the best we have ever had.. I think that the secret was that we were both doing something.. mum had some sewing and I had some knitting so we were not just staring at her. Makes a difference.. Anyway jbob... lots of love and missing you loads... And then I just chundered

    Lots of lovexxx


  27. Wolde Jones, Tango 6
    Its "Phat Boy", Hows's everything out there. Im a better rider now, I dont hit walls nomore lol. I got myself this girl, bringing her East this thursday. Zacks birthday, is like in 2 weeks, you know ill be taking pics, so it would kinda feel like ya there. when you come back, come east that weekend.

  28. Eline de Vries ECHO 3

    Lieve Lien
    We hebben de vlucht voor China geboekt. De reis krijgt steeds meer vorm. Het wordt wel veel Azië voor jou dit jaar. We hebben heel veel leuke tips van allerlei mensen gekregen over wat we wel en niet moeten gaan doen. ook voor China hebben we straks een visum nodig.
    Vandaag ben ik met oma naar de oogarts geweest. Het was heel goed geregeld allemaal. Woensdag ga ik weer voor het eerst beginnen bij de trombosedienst. Best even spannend. We hebben afgelopen week Stijn verhuisd naar Tim's kamer. Jou kamer blijft gewoon lekker van jou:). Op de blog las ik dat jullie heel veel baby schildpadjes zien. Ik ben heel benieuwd naar je verhalen en foto's.

  29. Can't wait to see you chasing a chicken down Louisville Avenue! Sounds like a wonderful adventure - make the most of it! A x

  30. Forgot to say that was for Ursula Tango 6!

  31. Hi Nicster (Nicole - Tango 6)

    How funny that you're on the trek 1st! I have to admit I laughed a bit, but I'm sure you're coping with it well. I see you've taken to wearing a bandana.. you look tres cool!

    Sounds and looks absolutely incredible. The blog is great and it was cool to see the post when they covered your groups trek! Wondering if you're living off tinned spam or if you get to sample some local curries? Did you have pancakes on shrove Tuesday?? I'm guessing your middle day off has been and gone - hope you enjoyed it!

    We're currently getting the bathroom done here in the flat which is exciting.. going to be done over the next two weeks so it will be nice to finally have a shower in the flat (rather than just a bath). Things will look very different here when you come, as I guess the new house will be.

    I've just given up sweets, choc, cakes, biscuits, crisps and anything delicious for lent. 4 days in and it's already pretty tough! Anyway, it's 11pm here so I'm off to bed - 4.30 am with you!

    Missing you and everyone sends so much love.

    Alice xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  32. Walde Jones

    Hi Waltz!! I hope your're having a good time, making new friends and new mememories and experiences. I miss you and I can't wait to see you and hear all your stories when you get back. xo

    Rach :)

  33. Oliver Forster-Constance (Charlie 1)29 February 2012 at 00:45

    Hi Ollie Just to let you know that Shrewsbury beat Crawley yesterday 2:1 so they are now third place in league! Mark Wright and Marvin Morgan scored,and still not much between the top four.
    Do hope that everything is going well, it was great to see the picture of you in the newspaper! Not much news here,Mum and I are well, as are Holly and Henry!! Take care love Dad

  34. Hi Nicole (Tango 6)

    Hope you're having an awesome time out there - it all sounds really cool and imagine you're loving it! Got your email the other day and been seeing some photos of you canoeing and generally looks like quite an adventure. I hope being rescued from a boat in the raging Pembrokeshire sea prepared you for it! Anyway, take care and have fun. Luke x x

  35. jetske Homan van der heide1 March 2012 at 23:14

    Hi Jan ( Tango 6)

    What a wonderful photos. we are extremly proud of you walking up and down in the heat. And on new shoes ....it must be quite an experience.I hope all the stuff in the bagpack is useful
    Here is still everything the same and no big changes; Felix and Moon are skiing. Jeanne has a week of and we went away for a day which was fun. Fred is in Madrid. So no reason to come home.. although we miss you. Have a good time and take care.
    love jetske

  36. Schlamma , Schlappa, Richel2 March 2012 at 01:13

    Liiieeebe Jani, alles alles Liebe zu deinem Geburtstag, beste Gesundheit und immer viel Freude bei allem was du tust wünschen dir Mutti,Papa,Richel,Oma,Opa,Tommy,Puschkin,Coco und der fette Gustav.
    Bleib weiter ein so lebensfroher Zeitgenosse und schau in deine dropbox !!!
    Bis zum Schnaken morgen (heute)
    Tausend Küsse von allen!

  37. Sophie van Woerkom2 March 2012 at 02:51

    Roosmarijn Groen, Echo 4.

    Lieve roooooooos! Hoe is het_ ik kan helaas geen vraagteken doen op costa ricaanse computer. Hoe is de raleighfeeling_ Super lief dat je nog een mailtje had gestuurd, dacht, ik reageer maar even zo, dan krijg je het sneller. Ik wil alles horen, lekker raleigh vergelijken haha. Mis je wel! Ik ben net terug van 3 weken enviromentproject in de jungle, was super! Laat snel wat van je horen. Hou van je! Kus, Sophie

  38. Gillian Fairlie2 March 2012 at 19:46

    Ursula (Tango 6)
    Hi Lulu
    We are loving all the news and photos on the blog and your e-mail with all the chat about your trek makes me laugh so much! I am glad your 3 trips to the gym have helped....!Chickens, elephants, tea plantations, eco shelters, sunsets - so much I want to hear about!!
    Anyway guess what am out of hospital and feeling so much better so will e-mail you this weekend and hopefully maybe get skype set up.Looking forward to next lot of photos and chat.....! lots and lots of love mxxx

  39. Rosie Robinson3 March 2012 at 01:28

    Amanda Robinson Tango 6

    Dear jbob.
    just a quick message to let you know that I am now at home, and all packed up and ready to go. Had my final whisky and soda with m & d which was lovely... steak and chips for supper!

    Had great last few days.. saw friends and got ready to go.. so much to do when you go to a new place!
    Anyway, this is just a little message to welcome you back to your base and to wish you well for the next stage of your trip!

    all my dearest love an everything!
    Rosie xxx

  40. Barney Tango 6
    Been following progress - sounds absolutely wonderful, if a touch stressful in places! Well done for getting this far. Hope the rest of the trip is just as good, but it's going to be hard to beat what you've done so far. Off to see the new film about 7 pensioners in India - the lazy way to soak up the atmosphere..
    Love from all at Rissi, MK and Man C

  41. Lauren Kay-Lambert7 March 2012 at 00:29


    I have just come across your blog and I'm so glad to hear you're having such a good time :) It seems like the tan is coming along nicely as well! (nice picture at the top by the way!) I miss you loads and loads and cannot wait for TGI Fridays when you return. Stay well and enjoy yourself.
    Much love,
    Lauren xxxxxxxxxxxx

  42. James Tango 6

    Hope that all goes well in the transition between the trek and whatever comes next. I spent some of Sunday marshalling at a very wet and not very warm Peterborough rowing lake -- not enough bends in the course for Matthew to shine (but he is very pleased by his bumpit performance).

    We've all enjoyed reading the various blogs -- so our compliments to the authors.

    Enjoy your next assignment!

    Haynes family