African adventure looming closer

Andrew Grimes (third from right) with his walking group above one of the many Lakeland tarns. AH
Andrew Grimes (third from right) with his walking group above one of the many Lakeland tarns. AH

SIXTEEN-year old Sorbie lad, Cadet Colour Sergeant Andrew Grimes, completed his final assessment ahead of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa with flying colours in the Lake District during the Easter break.

Andrew, a cadet in the Newton Stewart detachment of the Army Cadet Force, is one of 40 youngsters selected to attend Kwazula Natal Venturer, a three-week trip to southern Africa in July. Originally over 500 cadets, who applied, were whittled down to the selected few by running a series of leadership courses and personal fitness events.

Andrew Grimes (16) reaching one of the Lake District summit cairns on his final preparation event for the Drakensberg Mountains in July. AH

Andrew Grimes (16) reaching one of the Lake District summit cairns on his final preparation event for the Drakensberg Mountains in July. AH

The last event was another punishing fell-walking five days in the Lake District to ensure all are capable of the arduous schedule the Africa trip will throw at them.

They spend a week of the trip covering huge distances in the Drakensberg mountain range, the highest in southern Africa.

With Andrew taking part in numerous hill-walking events in preparation for his African adventure, he now has a recognised qualification to lead small groups of walkers in the hills during summer conditions.

Although the full cost of the trip amounts to around £4,000, the cadet force has been able to gain valuable sponsorship and grants. But each participant is required to raise £1,000 to finance all their necessary specialised equipment.

Andrew has raised most of his funding (famously by shaving off his orange mohican last year), but is still looking for support and sponsorship. If you see Andrew, or any member of the Army Cadet Force out fundraising or offering to pack you bag in the supermarket, please dig deep. Even a handful of coppers make up a pound!