Two years in planning, training and fundraising, made possible thanks to massive support from the Ulysses Trust, RAF Charitable Trust and Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, who not only assisted in subsidising the trip but also enabled purchase of specialist clothing and equipment to make it as safe and challenging as possible.
Flying into Vancouver, transferring North, they were dropped off for their first ‘paddle’. The enormity of the task and potential risks hit home and the cadets learnt very quickly how to set camp in spaces available. The important safety brief completed, they enjoyed a stunning sunset which set the standard for the trip.
Each day brought fresh experiences and new challenges. They encountered wildlife in abundance, fast, shallow, and narrow waters with very tight bends, tree hazards, and big boulders in the flow. There was rain – the kind that gets you soaked, so the sponsored Paramo outer clothing came into its own! They had also camped close to the edge of one of the largest rivers in North America. The last camp, on a sand bar island in the middle of the river not far from Carmacks, where staff took in the surroundings, was in contrast to the first day, as cadets achieved most of the camp set up. Taking ownership of events and working together to achieve a positive outcome is what it’s all about. For the team leader, Dave Hill, it was very much “mission accomplished”.
The last day and arrival at Carmacks after the challenge of navigating multiple river channels by compass, meant handshakes and hugs all round in acknowledgement of what they had achieved.
Back in Vancouver the team relaxed and enjoyed some free time, and another stunning sunset at the mouth of Vancouver Harbour before the long-haul flight home.