Norwegian & British Join Expeditionary Force
A dedicated (?) team of scouts and explorers from Lymm travelled to Norway and joined with our friends from the 1. Fredrikstad in March to take part in Operation Frostbite. An expedition up into the Norwegian mountain snowfields west of Oslo where we based our camp in the small hamlet called Haglebu. Share the incredible experience by reading their diary for the trip:
4th Lymm Scout and Arctic Explorer visit to Norway 4th – 8th March 2009
Wednesday 4th March
After a short flight from Liverpool Airport, we arrived at Torp Airport, Oslo. Here we were met by our friend Guttorm, 1 Fredrikstad Scout Leader, who drove us to Fredrikstad, via the Oslo Fjord, where we were to be based.
‘Wow, the snow here is amazingly deep, I can’t wait to get in it!’ – Ellie
‘We were very rushed tonight but we got here happy and in one piece’ – Tom
We arrived at Guttorm’s house and were welcomed with a drink and snack. Later that evening Ellie and Nichala went to Jørgen’s house, where they were staying, and we all went to sleep excited for the days to come.
‘The snow is great, I’ve never seen so much in one place’ – Pat
Thursday 5th March
After a late rise, around form time, we thought of our dear friends back at school, but soon had to get on with the organisation for the trip ahead!
‘It was really fun to play in the snow this morning; we had a snowball fight with James!’ – Pat (‘I won’ – James)
After breakfast we collected our skiing and camping gear from the local lending centre. Soon after this our skiing lesson began…
‘I have really enjoyed today, learning how to X-country ski was really exciting and I can’t wait for tomorrow’ – Ellie
‘Today has been great fun, X-country skiing was much harder than I thought it would be’ – Nic
Our lesson began inside, learning how to put the skis on and off. (We are extreme beginners!) We then moved to the garden, where the snow was around 1ft deep. Here we skied about for 30mins, 20 of which we spent in the snow trying to get back up! Slowly but surely we progressed, getting better and better, but we still fell over a lot!
‘I have never had such a snowy bum! Although I’m now a pro at getting up, I even had to do an example for Ellie!’ – Tom
Shortly after sorting out the rest of our equipment we headed down to Rema 1000, our favourite Norwegian supermarket, and into town for chocolate supplies and lunch. Later that evening we played Alias, an English word guessing game, and of course Ellie and her two Norwegian team mates, Henrik and Maja, won!
Friday 6th March Today we are off on our snow Adventure…
‘We woke up with an early start to the day, thinking about the trip ahead of us, and excited to meet up with our Norwegian friends’ – Pat
‘We had a short meeting with the Norwegians and set of for Haglebu.’ – Tom
At the halfway stop we were able to interact with the Norwegians more, our bonding session consisting mainly of a snowball fight!
Soon after we arrived at Haglebu, we went skiing on a nearby slope; everyone was really enthusiastic and helpful to those who weren’t as experienced.
‘When we arrived at Haglebu we went skiing down an easy slope, and continued to fall over, especially Ellie’ – Nic
Once we were told which cabins we were sleeping in that night, we quickly dumped our bags and continued to play in the snow. This consisted of snowball fights, snowman building and further attempts at X-country skiing. Later on we had a ‘Fire Camp’ including both English and Norwegian input, sketches, jokes, quizzes and some singing! That night we gathered in the girl’s cabin, chatting until exhaustion set in.
‘Today has been really fun, everyone is really nice. Skiing is definitely not my strong point, although I am a pro at falling over’ – Ellie
Saturday 7th March
We woke up at about 8 o’clock, cleared our cabins, packed out bags and set off on our journey to the site where we were due to build our snow cave.
‘The trip was mainly uphill and very tiring, the problem wasn’t exhaustion, it was trying to stay the right temperature’ – Nic
After 4.5km of skiing we arrived at a pile of snow in which we were later expected to sleep! It seemed an insurmountable task!
‘The first thing we did after arriving was begin making the snow cave we were later going to spend the night in. It was quite tiring but we got through in the end, and surprisingly had a good nights sleep!’ – Pat
Straight away we started to dig and continued to dig for 6 hours!! The 2 caves, one for 9 people the other for 14, quickly took shape and before we knew it, we were ready for the finishing touches, including getting rid of drip points in the ceiling and lumps in the floor.
‘Snow cave day, Woo! It’s been hard work but in some ways enjoyable. We made two caves in 6 hours, which is quite fast considering it was -5°c and people were freezing their feet off!’ –Tom
‘Out of all the new experiences I’ve had over the past few days I never thought I would end up getting changed in the middle of the snow!’ – Pat
We found out how important it is to keep dry and warm especially Ellie who had to be totally changed and wrapped in a sleeping bag to prevent her getting hypothermia.
‘Pfft- I am so tired I have dug cleared and smoothed snow for 5 hours and only took 1 break for lunch. But because I got so wet I got freezing and had to be redressed and sent to bed to keep warm!’ –Ellie
After a tiring, but exciting day of digging and skiing we all got in our sleeping bags before 7 o’clock and were asleep by 8!!
Sunday 8th March
‘Today when I woke up, for the first few minutes I forgot I was buried in the snow and we were all totally unaware of the vicious blizzard outside’ – Pat
Starting off in the cave with breakfast in bed. We got dressed quickly, you tend to in those temperatures!! and packed up. We headed out where the snowmobiles were ready to take our bags down to the buses. When we skied back to Haglebu, Ellie and Tom got a lift on the snowmobiles, and Tom even drove his!
‘Today we were not allowed out of the cave until we were fully packed because there was a blizzard, as soon as you went outside you got a face full of snow and you couldn’t see anything more than a metre away properly!’ – Nic
When we got back we went to a restaurant and had pizza and drinks and discussed our experience. Once we had sorted out our kit and got changed it was time to say bye to our Norwegian friends!
When we reached Oslo we spent some time window shopping and then set off for Torp Airport, once we were through security we sat down and discussed how funny our week had been and how privileged we were to have been asked to go!
‘This trip has been a life changing one so I’d like to thank Simon, Nichala and all the Norwegians who made this trip so unforgettable!’ – Tom
Whilst we were away we kept up with our subjects in some alternative ways…
DT – Cave Building
PE – Skiing
Maths – Studying probability with playing cards!
Geography – Navigating around Norwegian mountains
Languages – Learning the odd Norwegian word and finding common languages other than English.
History – Learning about Haglebu, the area in Norway where we stayed
Science – Gravity (learnt via falling, a lot)
Drama – Camp fire sketches
Have a look at the weather we had when we woke up, a little different to what we are use to… click the play button to see!
We would like to say a massive thank you to Simon, Nichala, Petter, Guttorm and family, Crazy Petter, Jørgen and family and all the other Norwegian scouts and young leaders for making us feel welcome, teaching us to ski, helping us to stay smiling, keep warm and making the whole trip possible.
We would also like to thank the staff at Lymm High School for allowing us the time out of school to experience this amazing opportunity.
Tom L, Ellie P, Pat M, Nic S and James F