Friday, January 21, 2005

Seize the day

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

So what have you got planned for Summer 2006? A dead end job until you go off to University or start work and lazing about at home getting out of bed after 11am?

Or how about this:

Expedition: MOONLANDS 6


Leader: JOHN HEGARTY - who has led over fifty expeditions including ventures to Bolivia, Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Iceland, India, Peru, Thailand and the United States. His previous ventures have received both the Karrimor and Sir Vivian Fuchs Awards. He is a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, has served as member of the National Council of the Young Explorers Trust and is a Vice Principal of a Technology College. John is a Plato Award holder and helped establish the Dorset Expeditionary Society.

Approximate dates: 20th JULY- 21st AUGUST 2006

Aim: To develop Young Leaders

To raft the headwaters of the Indus River
To trek across the Moonlands of the Tibetan Plateau
To mountain bike several high altitude routes to the Chinese border
To complete a crossing of the Greater Himalaya

TRIP DESCRIPTION: In July our group will depart from London to fly into New Delhi and then onwards across the Himalayas to Leh, the highest airfield in the world and the capital of Ladakh. This is a unique land, long isolated as a kingdom by the high peaks, which still forbid access for eight months of every year. It is the coldest and highest inhabited place on earth with less rainfall than the Sahara. Populated by nomadic herdsmen who are Buddhist, the region is in reality an unspoilt area of Tibet just miles from the Chinese border.

Already at 12,000ft in a region known as 'Moonlands' we will start our high altitude training. Our first objective lies in a white water rafting descent of the Indus. The melt waters of high glaciers provide exciting rapids whilst our group paddles through desert and canyons.

From the waters of the Indus, we will return to Leh and then undertake several days of strenuous mountain biking in the Zanskar Mountains. This is an ideal way to see the most dramatic of landscapes and meet Tibetans in their villages. Following this our group trek across the spectacular passes of the Zanskar region. Trekking is of world class standard and will provide a strenuous challenge for our group.

On returning to Leh, our group will undertake one of the most arduous of road journeys across two chains of the Himalayas. This involves a three-day drive to Manali in Himachal Pradesh and on to New Delhi. Here we will have some days to rest, recover and explore the capital of the Raj.

Our team will have a unique advantage gained from the five previous ventures into Ladakh. Our experience on the ground, local contacts and guides provide us with the very best opportunity for a successful expedition.

COST: £2050

THIS INCLUDES: Flights, Administration, Selection, Training, Specialist Equipment, Visas, Insurance, Permits, Guides, Porters, Cooks, Ponies, Rafts, Hotels, Airport Taxes, Overland Transport, Food (except in transit), Laundry, Medical Supplies, Malarial Prophylaxis, Membership of The Dorset Expeditionary Society, Ball and B-B-Q Tickets.

STATUS: The Society does not run expeditions; it does however approve leaders and vet planning. This venture is not a Society, school or county trip and the problems and dangers inherent in such a venture are obvious. A realistic appreciation of the difficulties and dangers is essential before any application is made. Any programme can only be provisional and can so easily be subject to change.

APPLICATION: Applications always outnumber places and a selection procedure will decide the final team. Previous expedition experience is not necessary but applicants must be fit and healthy. Many potential applicants are deterred by the apparent difficulty of gaining experience or funding such a project. In reality, no candidate faces any difficulty, unless and until they have successfully completed selection.

1. Anyone between 15 and 20 may apply by returning the completed application form together with eight passport size photographs and a non-returnable deposit of £50. Cheques made payable to 'Moonlands Expedition'. (Do not wait to get a passport)

2. Applicants will be given an outline briefing and invited to attend a Selection Course. These are now booked for 7th–9th October and in early December 2005. Applicants must attend just one of these courses.

3. Those who pass selection will be offered a place on the expedition. Successful candidates automatically become members of the Society. This offers to them a number of training and social opportunities as well as several invitations to lead adventurous activity camps for other youngsters.

4. Selected members who live in the South of England are expected to attend two Training Days, one during the Christmas period and one at Easter and all are expected to attend a training weekend just before departure. Selection and Training will not interfere with examination work.

5. By Christmas, all those committed to the venture will be asked to confirm their place.

6. Any questions about this venture should be directed to the Leader.

Application form


John Hegarty
16 Weare Close
Dorset DT5 1JP


01305 820088 (home)
01305 783057 (college)
01305 830555 (fax)
07770 752008 (mobile)

We gotta get out of this place

"We gotta get out of this place

If it's the last thing we ever do

We gotta get out of this place

'cause girl, there's a better life for me and you".

These lyrics are from The Animal's 1965 hit 'We gotta get out of this place' and let's face it who doesn't feel like that a fair proportion of the time?

Truth is, more and more people are taking the opportunity and getting out and exploring the world. Learning about different lifestyles, cultures and places. Who knows where such an adventure could lead you?

Time and again I hear people saying they want to do something, but they don't because they don't know what to do. Look on the gap year bulletin boards and you'll see young people talking about going to Oz to 'find themselves', but isn't this becoming a bit 'samey', like interailing did in the 1990's?

Do something different

How about raising funding to install a fresh water supply to a remote Nepalese village and then go and visit the people you have helped? Or build a hospital and school in Kenya and spend time with the local people and exploring the environment. Climb and mountain bike a series of high mountain trails in the Andes or canoe the upper reaches of the Amazon. Climb Pico de Orizabe, the highest peak in Mexico and camp in a rainforest, trek the ancient Inca trails in Peru or visit India and the Taj Mahal, trekking through the coldest and highest inhabited place on earth with less rainfall than the Sahara. Canoe Beaver Creek and a section of the Yukon in Alaska or stand on the summit of Mt Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain.

If you really want to get out of your comfort zone and try something really different, have you thought about trying an expedition? Leading Edge Expeditions is part of a UK based charity that approves expeditions across the globe. They've been running for 19 years and have sent out over fifty major expeditions.

Experience not profit

What truly makes our trips different is that they are NOT run for profit. On a Leading Edge Expedition prices are kept at a reasonable level so young people can afford them and all the expedition leaders pay their own travel costs in full. We've heard all sorts of horror stories from people who have been on commercial trips and been fed sweet potatoes for two weeks. Don't be fooled that is not character building......

In 2005 Leading Edge Expeditions have a very full programme of trips attempting all the exciting things I've described above. Check out their website at for more details.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

On top of the world

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the top of Mount Everest?

Follow the link below for an incredible 360 degree view.

If you fancy a chance of standing on top of Mt Blanc to compare the view and you are available between 24 July and 15 August 2004, why not take a look at our expedition details below.

French Alps (Au Pays des Geants) 2005

Expedition Leader: Clive Burgess

Mountaineering Leader: Mark Salmon

Approximate Dates: 24 JULY/ 15 AUGUST 2005

Objectives: Mountain bike to Chamonix; Learn about mountain environment; develop skills in alpinism; apply these skills on snow, ice and rock, climb a series of mountains.

Trip description
Mountaineering has its roots firmly established in the Alps. Many of the world's finest climbers 'cut their teeth' on the mountains of the Mt Blanc Massif before going on to the bigger ranges, such as the Himalaya.

The Alps provide every conceivable adventure for the expeditioner from the novice to the experienced. The thrill of standing on a glacier surrounded by huge peaks is awe inspiring, and continues to capture the imagination of every climber. This expedition led by Clive Burgess will be the 4th in this area. Unusually, the team will travel from Le Havre to Chamonix on mountain bikes. We plan to have a support vehicle that will carry all our mountaineering gear as well as spares. The vehicle will take the bikes and any unnecessary equipment back to the UK. The team will return by train and ferry.

Mountaineering requires teamwork, stamina and dedication. There are many techniques to learn, and the expedition will begin with extensive practice on the ice of the Mer de Glace before moving onto the Tour Glacier where further training will take place. From there we will start to acclimatise to altitude with climbs on the Domes de Miages. The group will then take Europe's highest cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi with its imposing view of Mt Blanc. From here we shall camp on the plateau before climbing Mt Blanc du Tacul.

An ascent of Mt Blanc itself may be considered; this, however, depends on the age and competence of the group and the conditions in the Alps at that time. Previous groups have indeed stood on the summit of Western Europe’s highest mountain but we are not going to the Alps with the intention of climbing Mt Blanc. In any event all mountaineering experiences we cover will be guided by a strict code of safety that will be at the heart of skill development. Learning the many aspects of mountaineering will require patience and a willingness to practice. Mountaineering is a risk activity and there is lot to learn from self-arrest techniques, roping up, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, how to use crampons plus a host of other things. Group members will not be able to progress onto the next stage until they have demonstrated proficiency in taught skills.

Group members will face a rigorous selection process to determine if they possess the right qualities for such an expedition. Some experience of climbing is an advantage, but is not a pre-requisite. We do not anticipate a Catherine Destivelle, or Reinhold Messner at this stage; rather we invite applications from young people who want a real challenge working in a team environment. Initial training will take place before we leave the UK.

The Leadership Team

Clive Burgess: 53, Head of Upper School in a large Weymouth Sports College. Co- Founder of the Dorset Expeditionary Society, he has 20 years experience of youth expeditions in the UK and overseas. He is a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. He has led expeditions to Canada, the USA, South America, Europe. Climbing experience covers Alaska, Colorado, the Alps, Andes, Canada. His most recent climb was on Mt McKinley (Denali), one of the world’s most demanding mountains.

Mark Salmon: 32, Head of PE and Outdoor Adventure at The Wey Valley School and Sports College. Mark has many years experience both in the UK and beyond. He is responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Expeditions include Nepal, Alaska, Europe and USA. Climbing experience is extensive from the Alps to the USA. He was part of the team to have recently climbed Denali. Mark will be leading the mountaineering section.

Rob Legrice 34, Head of Art in an Arts College in High Wycombe. Rob has much experience in leading youth expeditions, particularly in Canada and the USA. He led a mountain bike venture across the Rockie Mountains unsupported. He has climbed in the Alps.

Two other leaders will shortly be appointed.

Cost: To be confirmed but at this stage we estimate a figure of £750 to include: administration, selection, specialist equipment, insurance, transport (hire of vehicle, transport on the ground, return fare to UK), mountain bike spares, accommodation, mountain hut fees, cable car costs, food ( except meals group members wish to purchase beyond the expedition food ), and membership of The Dorset Expeditionary Society


Applications for these expeditions have always been oversubscribed and a selection procedure will decide the final team. As stated, previous expedition experience is not essential, but will be an advantage. All applicants, however, should be fit and healthy and have a genuine interest in the mountain environment. Selection will take place in November
Many potential applicants are deterred by the apparent difficulty of funding such a project. In reality, no candidate faces any difficulty unless, and until, they have successfully completed selection.

Applications are now invited from young people aged 16 - 19 ( applications from outside of these age groups will, however, be considered)

To Apply: Complete and return an application form together with 2 passport sized photographs and a non-returnable deposit of £50. Cheques should be made payable to "Au Pays des Geants Expedition ." Application forms can be obtained from this website (see link on left of page). Full details of the selection weekend will then follow.

Application forms should be returned to:
Clive Burgess2 Manor Place Fortuneswell Portland

Dorset DT5 1NL