During the summer holidays three Ellesmere College pupils took part in World Challenge to Borneo, an experience of a life time expedition to Borneo. Together with pupils from Ysgol Rhydfelen, a school in South Wales, Kim Fawcett, Arthur Higgins and Oliver Suckley were accompanied by Michael Coats, Head of IT.
After a gruelling 20 hour delayed flight the group arrived at Brunei, to experience their first taste of South East Asia. A day was spent soaking in the atmosphere before an evening connecting flight to Borneo.
The group's first full day in Borneo was spent at Kota Kinabulu, arranging transport for their first taste of jungle survival. They were transported to the foothills of Mount Kinabulu to a 'survival area', where they were taught to set traps and ate their first jungle tucker, including frogs and coach roaches. Instruction was also given how to make items out of bamboo, including darts for a blow pipe, cups and bed matting.
Next came the challenge to conquer the second highest mountain in South East Asia called "Trusmadi". This mountain, although not as high as Mount Kinabulu is not climbed as much and extremely steep. Most of the group were able to scale this mountain, and were rewarded by some magnificent views.
Following a six-hour bus ride with a karaoke system in Malay on for the whole journey, the next part of the expedition was spent in a local community, working on projects aimed at enriching the local area. Here the team members helped build a bridge, chop down under growth and remove weeds from the local lake. The entire group had an extremely exciting time, even swimming in crocodile infested lakes! A wide range of animals and birds in their natural habitat were encountered and on the final night the local community put on a display of singing and dancing with the group being dressed up in local attire.
The next stop was the Orang Utang Sanctuary where the group was able to personally interact with these magnificent animals. This was an unforgettable part of the trip as baby Orang Utangs were being trained to look after themselves before being released into the wild.
Poring Springs was the group's next destination, a place with hot natural springs which was discovered during the World War II Japanese occupation of Borneo. More recently the springs have been expanded to include a number of "baths" and a VERY cold plunge pool. Activities during the visit to the springs included the group taking part in a canopy walk. This was 51 meters above the ground with views extending the miles above the canopy of the surrounding jungle.
Another very long bus ride brought the group back to Kota Kinabulu, where the group started a period of rest and recuperation. There are a number of islands off the coast of Kinabulu. The group picked one and set off to an island which was busy during the day but at night the island was mostly deserted. Here everyone sun bathed, played football and swam. The sea was clear blue and many different types of fish were spotted. On land the group were visited by a monster lizard! Water activities were enjoyed by all including banana boat trips and flying fish.
After a long 20 hour flight back to the UK the group returned reluctantly home. The best way to sum up this expedition was spoken by Kim Fawcett who said "do we really need to go back". Everyone participating in this year's World Challenge were all secretly thinking the same thing and a mention of Borneo, still brings a smile to everyone's faces.
'An adventure is never an adventure while it's happening. Challenging experiences need time to ferment, and adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquillity.' Tim Cahill, writer for 'Outside Magazine'.
29th September 2006 Back to News