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 26 September 2012

VMs and PMs Start Intensive Field Training

Sunday saw the start of the practical skills training for the PMs and VMs. This will equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to run their projects in the field when the Venturers arrive in two weeks’ time.

Sunday’s sessions focused on communications, casualty procedures and kit packing ready for the first expedition into the field – trek training.

This began at 06.00 on Monday when we all set off, rucksacks suitably laden, for a 12-kilometer trek and an overnight stay under canvas.
Trekking through the local countryside
To the delight of all, this involved walking through local villages, in one of which we became quite an attraction. Stopping for some local tea (chai) in the village square, we were joined by what seemed like most of the village children and a number of adults.

Local children welcoming the Raleigh trekkers
For a reason as yet unclear, Blair and a local man decided to engage in an (amicable) arm wrestling contest, which Blair won. To restore honour (and possibly avoid Blair being voted the new village strongman), the man then challenged him to a stone lifting and squatting contest, which Blair politely declined. The medics in the team – Harry, Sarah, Alex and George - appeared visibly relieved!

Blair and a local strongman engaged in a friendly game of arm wrestling

The local strongman demonstrating his prowess
Refreshed by the chai and fascinated by this exposure to local culture, we resumed our trek. We eventually arrived - unlost thanks to navigators Laura and Lou - at our destination (a field) in time to set up camp before a lunch cooked on trangias. (Have a look at the RALEIGH LINGO section under ‘Pages’ in the column on the right for an explanation of any terms you don’t understand.)

'It's not much but it's home - well, for a night anyway'
Having satisfied one bodily need, after lunch we set about constructing a temporary facility – known as a ‘long drop’ to meet other bodily functions best glossed over.

The team constructing a long drop
This was followed by the swim test for the PMs in the nearby river – the same as that done by most of the VMs last week. Yours truly, having done the test last week, had the enjoyable task of floating along on a rubber tyre as part of the safety precautions, these being a key feature of all Raleigh activities.

Graham about to start a restful float watching the PMs on their swim test
After a welcome and tasty ‘boil in the bag’ dinner we settled for an evening’s conversation over a campfire, followed by an early night ready for another early start.

Tuesday morning saw us enjoying a porridge breakfast, dismantling the tents and long drop, and doing a brief ‘energizer’ – a Raleigh feature of all expeditions, in this instance a game of dwarfs, giants and dragons. At exactly 08.00 we set off to resume our trek.

A simple trek back to Fieldbase? Oh no. Hardly had we started when Dave emitted an ear-piercing scream and ‘collapsed’. After a second’s real concern, we realized he was acting and that this was a CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) exercise that had been sprung on us.

'Saving Dave' - the CASEVAC exercise underway
George, who was leading the team at the time (and is a medic), handled the situation with admirable calm, supported by an enthusiastic team performing delegated roles, and within an hour Dave had been reassured, bandaged, cursed at for not being lighter (not part of the formal exercise), and stretchered to an ‘ambulance’ in the form of the Raleigh bus.

Dave visibly relieved at his remarkably speedy and full recovery
After a debrief we returned by bus to Fieldbase and hot showers. After lunch came a spell of R&R in the form of a sightseeing visit to Mysore and an enjoyable dinner there.

The PMs are keenly awaiting the announcement of who will be working with whom on which project. Watch this space …


  1. Laura Davies PM Ex12J

    Great to see you leading the way navigating the group to the camp site; sure the chai tasted all the better for it! Sure you enjoyed meeting some of the local school kids although I dare say the teacher had their work cut out with a massive class! Best of luck with the training - looking forward to the next update :)


    Rich xx

  2. To Anna the spanner - India 12J,
    Yes!!!!!! I have officially beaten mum to the first post for this entry - woo hoo!! Could be because she is sleeping off multiple social activities, while I have been conserving energy for posting :) Hope your sunburn is going down after the trek, & you are working out what you are supposed to be doing - fake it 'til you make it I say!
    Carnival of flowers is currently on here - saw the return of bjorn again on Sunday - what a winner. Other than that, continuing to train Mikey who is becoming progressively naughtier now he has settled in...doesn't bark rudely at visitors any more though :) And I washed your down jacket - let me know if u need it & I could post it over in a small bag :D
    Enjoy the curries,
    Love, Vanessa xo

  3. To George (12J)

    Glad to see you arrived safely and getting on ok. How unsurprising that you were "admirably calm" in the emergency situation. Not sure I've ever seen you panic! You missed a yummy roast at Tom & James' last weekend but I'm sure there will be more when you return. Tom (W) and I are in Bath this weekend which is very lovely and makes Brighton seem a bit shabby! Def autumn now...hope you are enjoying the warmer weather in India. There were no pics of you arm wrestling??? You didn't fancy taking on the local strong-man???! Amar would not be impressed!! We are going to try and get Glastonbury tickets next weekend, let me know if you want one.

    Have fun
    Amanda & Tom xx
    Ps hope the CIBH hasn't been too extreme!!!

  4. To George (12J)

    Good to see that you have been spreading the Olypmics 2012 love with a quiz. V impressed! Looks like you are all getting stuck in already.

    Having just read the blog at my desk, I think I have concluded that your life is much more exciting than mine at the moment! Although I am off to Australia on 24 Oct to see sister and the babies. So hopefully a bit of an adventure to come. Will pop in to Melbs and say good 'ay to Crook and will pass on my love to Jacob's Creek for you.

    Good luck with the rest of the trip. Take care.

    Soph x

  5. Welcome to Seth SOMERS and all 12J hoping you have a great time