From the 19th-23rd of June our Silver International Award students experienced a magnificent journey to the heart of Inner Mongolia.
Xilamuren Grasslands put on a show of spectacular views, sunshine, wind and just enough rain to help us appreciate our waterproof packing.
11 students and 2 Staff set out from Beijing West Train station on the sleeper unit for the 9 hour journey to Hohhot where we met up with our instructors who briefed us and escorted the team 2.5 hours by bus out into the vast, rolling and seemingly endless grasslands that Mongolia is famous for.
After experiencing some amazing local hospitality (and a night in a Yurt) we broke into our groups and began the journey with our maps and compass in hand, the subtle terrain and lack of large features posed a big challenge for the groups but in a short period of time they had their bearings and started marching to the first checkpoint.
The groups had a chance to utilize their cooking and camp craft skills they had learnt and by the end of the first day’s hiking- the students were all tucked up in their tents -drying their belongings from the late rain shower that passed over us.
Up with the sun the next morning- the team was keen to get moving and beat the hot afternoon sun which was merciless after lunch, but many breaks later (and a first aid training scenario thrown in), we arrived at our campsite shared with a beautiful extended family of horses.
The clear night sky enabled the students to stargaze late into the evening and the weary team turned in for the night quietly wishing that the following day was not going to be their last one out here in the great outdoors.
The last day dawned bright and clear and the students headed off in the direction of the bus rendezvous.
After almost a week out of their comfort zone with no showers and carrying all of their own supplies in Backpacks, the Silver International Award students boarded the overnight train in Hohhot and fell into their beds for a well-earned rest.
We rolled into Beijing on Tuesday morning and headed home with an experience and memories that will last a long time.
Update from: Mr. Dion MacIver, Secondary Pastoral Support