The Crean Challenge expedition not only encourages scouters to push themselves on a mental level by completing projects and learning skills, but also of course on a physical level. This six month challenge concludes with an expedition to Iceland in which the scouter will be tested on their physical strength by completing activities on snow, and the main expedition hike. The expedition crosses over the Icelandic ground which has a thick blanket of snow, and through artic rivers.
In my last article I wrote of my first few hikes, the start of my projects and the first training weekend. Since then I have worked greatly on increasing my stamina and strength for the expedition itself, I have also attended another training weekend. For the duration of the six month challenge, I as an individual most improve my fitness greatly and get the gear needed for this great challenge ahead.
The first two or three hikes I completed proved to be strenuous, I want to get to a stage in which they are not quite as monstrous. I begin walking daily over my Christmas holidays and on weekends, I walk to school each morning dragging a full load of books. I start off on a tricky walk that I do each day and as that becomes easy I add on extra lengths and weights on my back. Once it gets easier again I begin to locate more hills in my town that I can walk up. I soon feel my muscles gaining healthily. I feel good about how I am doing and take self-pride in the fact that I am at a much better stage then what I was. The real test will be my next three hikes though. Hike one is up to Torc Waterfall and follows on the Kenmare road. Anyone who has climbed in Torc will be aware those steps feel like they go on forever and take an awful lot out of you. Although it was not the easiest of hikes I managed better than I thought and I am satisfied to see I’m clearly improving. Hike two was Knockboy Mountain, the highest mountain in Cork County. This was actually quite an enjoyable hike and I was joined with good company which always motivates. I felt exhilarated after I summited Knockboy and knew I am definitely on the right path, and that path is going up. I am proud of myself as getting fit was one of the biggest obstacles for me but The Crean Challenge has clearly motivated me to push further and beyond all boundaries.
As well as the hikes I have attended a training weekend in Mount Melleray Scout Centre in Waterford. In this weekend we hiked, which brought us up in the snow for a taster of what Iceland might throw at us. Also this weekend we had a talk on gear needed and I made my list. I have been a scout a scout for 9 years so I surely had a lot of gear, but did I have the gear for Iceland? There was a couple of big items I needed to purchase for the trip. I needed a new sleeping bag for the low temperatures, thermals and jackets, but most importantly I needed new boots to hold out the water. My parents have invested in much new equipment for me and I saved up for new boots, it has all been quite costly. My leader could see how much expense we have been putting towards this expedition and quietly got in touch with our local outdoor equipment store. On the day of our scout troop’s 1916 ceremony I was presented by my leader and the shopkeepers of WildSide sports with a card that stated I was being sponsored a jacket for my expedition in Iceland. I was over-thrilled and felt very emotional by the support of my leader and my local community. I am so thankful and so lucky and I will be ever thankful how those have helped me for my challenge.
My experiences so far have been truly incredible and I haven’t even touched Iceland yet! Times moves fast and I begin to prepare for the next few weeks. All this work is going towards the ulitamate challenge in Iceland and I feel so ready to take it on. Bring it on.
Next time I will write to you about my thrids training day, packing, getting ready and Tom Crean himself, the man who inspired this expedition in the first place.