Beth Collins
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Beth Collins - Aberdovey, Wales, 2012

My time at the Outward Bound Centre in Aberdovey could be called Hell on Earth, but I absolutely loved it! Not only did we get closer as a group, but we had so much fun doing it. The week we signed up for was 'Adventure Challenge' and after sleeping in a field full of sheep poo and camping the 'natural' way, I can safely say that every minute was a challenge, but a great adventure that will never be forgotten. We started the week by listing our hopes and fears for the week; I am deadly afraid of heights! If the cold and wet weather wasn't enough, we had to run down to the beach and take a dip in the sea; imagine submerging your body in a freezing cold bath-tub with dirty water and more salt than you would ever find in a fast food restaurant. And that was only the start. After having a heavenly hot shower and packing our bags, which in some cases were bigger than us, we set off to go rock climbing. We walked and walked and walked till we felt we could have walked no longer until we reached the steepest hill I have ever seen; now would probably be a good time to tell you that this is not for the faint hearted! This hill made a car break down and roll backwards with no way to stop it but the help of some HUGE rocks!
We got to the top and it was time to face my fears, heights! Our leaders, Alec and Libby, were so supportive and pushed us to our boundaries, they helped us to knock down the brick walls that we had built and become stronger people because of it. When it came to abseiling down a rock face, it seemed almost easy because I knew that Alec would not put us in danger intentionally and they were always there to support me when the going got tough! Next came the camping. After putting our tents up and wrapping up warm we all crowed round the stoves and sang some songs. We did the 'penguin race' with help from Libby and we also sang 'have you ever seen a penguin come to tea?'. These songs started the night perfectly and although we were sleeping with the stars and some sheep, it didn't seem nearly as bad as you would think.
The 8K hike we did the next day was hard, but extremely satisfying! I would never have believed the power music had until that day. When people were lagging, and the tiredness was taking over, a certain 'Crazy Moose' got us through and we managed to do a 'beast' of a walk in no time whatsoever. When we got back and unpacked our bags we were able to fully appreciate the running water and warm beds waiting back in the dormitories. We ended the night round a campfire singing songs and munching on smores! YUM!
Then came the last day. I have never been so sad to leave a place before, but the tears in my eyes when we left, were tears of joy. The people at the Outward Bound Trust had pushed myself and my team to our limits and seeing each other at our worst had brought us closer together and gave us new friends who we will cherish and never forget. The last planned challenge was the high ropes. A nightmare for somebody with a fear of heights! I managed to get round half of the course with the help of Chris and Alec and then I reached my personal brick wall. I carried on to the next half of the course and struggled to pass one obstacle. For what Libby did then I will be eternally grateful. She told me that she knew I could do it, because I kept pushing myself and she had seen me knock down all boundaries in the short space of time she had known me. Libby supported me across the hardest challenge of the week and with the motivation and enthusiasm showed by my team mates and Alec on the ground, again with the help of a 'crazy moose' I made it back to ground and I am now a stronger person because of it. What they didn't tell us was that the hardest challenge of the week was going to be actually leaving. Stepping on that coach and saying goodbye to the people that had made me a new person was tough, and the only reason I could do it was because I knew that if I ever came back they would be there waiting to help me face the toughest of challenges. I would like to say one last big thank you to all the staff at Outward Bound Trust, Aberdovey and in particular Libby and Alec. I hope that I will be able to come back shortly for the 'Classic Expedition' and you will be there to welcome us back with open arms. This week has been an adventure, a challenge, and one of the toughest things I have ever faced, but I can safely say, that we will NEVER regret any moment of it!