Well, after 10 weeks of training and build up our 2 day Expedition finally arrived and it was dry….mostly.
After a final kit check and packing our lunches we set off in the YMCA mini bus pulling a trailer load of kayaks and canoes behind us. It was early afternoon when we set off along the canal headed North from Neath. Unlike previous Expeditions it was decided due to the early fading light to make a return trip as opposed to a journey this was so we could gauge our progress and return still in the light.
It took us a few hours to reach the lock gates, along the way we’d seen Buzzards, Swans and a few water birds. At one point our way had been blocked by a submerged log and we all teamed up to attach a rope to the obstacle and all paddle together to remove it. It certainly wasn’t easy but we managed it.
By the time we returned to our starting point the light was starting to fail. Perfect conditions for an autumn night walk.
Everyone was issued a head torch but asked not to turn them on. We peered into an absolutely pitch black forest and began walking into the night. It surprised everyone just how much we could see and navigate in seemingly total darkness. Our stealth paid off and soon we were among the Owl calls just above our heads.
Once the moon came out we could see silver puddles and even moon shadows and it barely occurred to anyone to actually turn the lights on at all.
Finally we returned to our mini bus and within a short ride we were at the hall which was to be our resting place for the night.
Dinner was of course pizza and hot dogs and vegetarian options. Despite the excitement our day’s adventure was enough to guarantee everyone a good night sleep.
In the morning responsibility for making, serving and clearing up after breakfast fell to the children who in fairness did a brilliant job. We discussed our plans, packed our sleeping bags away and headed off for our last challenge.