Three weeks have been and gone in a flash here at Dynamic Adventures and we have finally had a couple days off to sit back, recover and reflect on our experiences so far.
We have been kayaking, canoeing, climbing indoors and out, passed a 2 day outdoor first aid course and returned from a 10 day expedition in Scotland! It has been non stop and we truly have been thrown in at the deep end!
In true Scottish fashion, the weather decided to set us a real challenge for the duration of our trip. We encountered only 1 day of clear skies and sunshine over the whole 10 days! The rest of the time we were hit with severe weather warnings; 50-90 mph winds, horizontal walls of rain and flash floods! Wild camping was not ideal! With the weather being unhelpful we were left feeling like sheep, just following our instructors and being tested mentally and physically against the elements, it was not an environment conducive to learning. The long, cold days cramped in a canoe, the windy, sleepless nights in tents and the long slog up mountains over 1000m left the team’s morale at a low point. On the penultimate day a 9 hour hike in constant rain and wind turned into a survival mission which didn’t help the cause. The rain was so relentless that we couldn’t get back to base camp as the rivers had burst their banks and cut off our path. This resulted in a further 3 hour walk to reach a hostel, but not before we had to cross a fast flowing river, a situation which you do not want to find yourself in!! A gear retrieval mission was put in place the following day, which was all going well until we reached our camp to find our tent flat on the floor with all the poles bent or broken! Another blow! Our trip was made complete with; wrongly booked buses, waiting around for taxis and a delayed flight! Who doesn’t love the outdoors?!
However, it’s amazing how views and opinions can change once you have had time away from the chaos. In Scotland we were left with a feeling of doubt regarding our progression of learning new skills, but on reflection, that doubt was wrong. Without realising it, we learnt from the challenging experiences, developed our understanding towards positive people skills and appreciated the value of good management through empathising with a groups needs.
We haven’t had what we would call direct learning but passively we have learnt; how to pack efficiently for expeditions, how to improve our camp craft, what food to take while wild camping (not smelly mackerel!!) how to survive through severe weather warnings, how to push through our own personal battles, how to enjoy the simple things (dry clothes!) how to get kicked out of a Scottish restaurant before even setting foot in said restaurant, how to save a sinking canoe, how to cross a river safely and the value of enjoying the moment for what it is!
So after a few weeks of mixed feelings we have come away gaining more personal attributes and knowledge of the industry than we first thought. A defining moment came about on an evening canoe trip here in Dartington. We had the pleasure of joining a mother and her 9 year old daughter for a river journey. The little girl had a deformity in one arm, but this did not stop her one bit and the enthusiasm and laughter she brought to the whole trip was fantastic. After plenty of games and conversation with all of us the little girl stood up in the canoe, turned to her mum and said, “When I grow up I want to be an Outdoor Instructor!”. It hit home; the confidence, the ability to safely break comfort zones and the passion we can instil on young people is why we are entering this industry. What might have seemed like a difficult trip for us is only making us more knowledgeable and stronger in order to provide us with the skills to change peoples lives through experiencing the great outdoors.
This is when we realised, “Adventure is the best way to learn”