Worthing College students’ Swedish expedition

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A GROUP of Worthing College students have returned from a nine-day wilderness canoeing expedition to Sweden.

The 15 students, who were all complete novices, had to quickly pick up the skills needed to paddle a canoe and to camp wild in the Swedish wilderness to take part in the adventure known as The Big Mad Paddle.

The group and their tutor Jonathan Whymark flew from Heathrow to Stockholm and then to Ostersund, near to the Norwegian border.

After a night in a log cabin, the students organised their equipment into waterproof barrels before loading up the canoes. The route included crossing huge lakes, negotiating fast-flowing rivers and portaging around some of the more dangerous sections of water and a couple of hydro-electric dams.

Jonathan, who previously served in the RAF and in the fire service, said: “These sorts of trips are not readily available to students in the UK, mainly because of the perceived health and safety culture.

“However, I believe that this sort of trip puts the student outside of their comfort zone and enables them to challenge themselves to go beyond what they previously thought possible.

“Without exception, every one of the students impressed me on the expedition. They dug in when the paddling got difficult, for example when crossing a wide lake with a strong headwind and they never moaned about having to dig a toilet or having to collect firewood. Each of the students can be very proud of what they achieved.”