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 21 July 2012

...In which the going gets tough

Almost at once, our pre-expedition training period jumped on us, a bit like an impatient but friendly family pet. These two weeks are designed to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on our ability to handle anything that the next two months can throw at us. From dealing with medical emergencies, setting up a camp and making radio communications to soft skills training and cultural awareness, much of our VM training programme is based on military protocols meaning that it is well established, trusted and, above all, safe.

The VMs - a picture of concentration during our first aid classes

Brace yourself...
The first day of VM School refreshed our knowledge of first aid courtesy of some admirably digestible classes from our medics, so, if the worst should happen, the worst shouldn’t happen. These lessons gave way to a chance to put all of that knowledge into practice, and boy were we raring to go... which was handy given the kick off time.

At the unnaturally early and unnervingly humid hour of 6.30am the very next morning, we shouldered our packs and went trekking the red-soiled back roads of rural Karnataka to a mystery destination roughly eight hours away. An admittedly rather sweaty experience all round, the trek simulated an average day on the adventure phase, thus exposing us to the world of Raleigh as it would seem through the eyes of a venturer. See? We are so empathetic when it comes to you guys!

The journey begins at fieldbase....and the map's out already

 Amongst our twelve strong company were: an elected day leader, the unanimously acclaimed Steve; a birds-eye navigator in Katherine; and experienced medical support from Lizzie, Dan, Fiona and Johanna. I flatter myself that my gamely attempts to crack jokes were as crucial to our group’s success as the sterling work of those previously mentioned. Yet, when a mock medical emergency (“CASEVAC”) was suddenly sprung on us, it was actually the synergy of the whole group, not just those in specific roles, which facilitated our efficient rescue of the casualty in question – the talented Alex Templeton, with what critics are already calling an “Oscar-worthy performance”.

Some moral support and no small amount of
intrigue at one of our refreshment stops 

The lessons from the day were clear: a good team looks out for each other, but, when emergencies arise, a good team also knows its individual roles and trusts each other to fulfil them. These wise teachings, along with the raft of hard skills we’re picking up, are going to be great tools to carry forward with us when we take the venturers out on phase.

Still photogenic...at half an hour in

Arriving at our destination in a somewhat more pained state than I can recommend, we found that a number of ants (generally those whose biting parts constitute 90% or more of their body) had laid claim to the same grassy field and were refusing to move; that’s if you’re not counting their repeated attempts to climb on us and commit common assault. So much for a warm welcome! Perhaps they were giving us their own unscheduled seminar on team work. We made camp, nonetheless and erected an architecturally adventurous toilet facility that could vie with anything on Grand Designs – well, until you went inside and saw that the designer had replaced the living room with an uncompromisingly functional trench and the kitchen with a shovel. Actually, it was sort of crushing the first time you went in.

Meanwhile in the Jenga championships...a.k.a. campfire construction

As the drizzly darkness of evening began to descend, the group enjoyed mouthfuls of well earned boil in the bag curry around the campfire. A delicious end to a day on one’s feet! We reviewed progress; praise and constructive criticism were handed out in equal measure for the benefit of all; and Steve came back from the toilet with a curious scratch on his ear. It did seem an unlikely time to get a piercing, we initially thought. Apparently some winged insect had seized our newly built edifice, moved in and was now taking offence at the queue of people waiting to use his living room for doing their business. Steve thought that this was fair enough – admirably understanding of the old chap. We patched him up with a plaster and retired to our tents, despairing at how fast-moving the property market has become nowadays.


  1. Mitch Tulloch Communications Officer
    Hi Mitch I have just seen the the pic of your fetching neck attire in the latest blob, NICE.
    I think you should wear it with the off road helmet when you do the rickshaw race, you can't be too careful.
    I hope you survived the first trek, and did not get eaten by the ants.Keep up the good work, the blogs are great. Look forward to reading the next, take care love Mum & Dadx

  2. to...........The unanimously acclaimed Steve

    Glad to see you've taken the lead already.

    Watch out for those biting / stinging winged critters.


  3. Anna Linighan. we hope you enjoy it! caz 'n' chabz... Hank 'n' pat!

  4. Steven D Reading the blog sounds like you are all interacting well have a great time from the Dhimans

  5. Jakhya. All getting serious now. Study and work hard, so you're ready for those venturers - Eek! Much love, Rahman&Zamans XxX

  6. Hi deep How r u. are you enjoying . pl send your programme. Isit raining there delhi have rains for last two day it is fine here
    deepti chaudhari india all family members

  7. To Ella Preece, Foxtrot 2
    Hi Ella, I hope you are having an amazing time and copying with all the creepy crawlies. I hear you can't wait to have a bath - I know that feeling! Take care and enjoy every moment. Can't wait to hear all your stories when you get back. Ann & Keith xx