The Iceland expedition I went on last year was amazing. The expedition lasted for 3 weeks; we trekked in ‘fires’ (groups of about 20 people) for over 240kms with no amenities such as toilets or showers – the rivers made for freezing but refreshing washes! As a team, we grew closer and closer over the 3 weeks and when we left at the end, it felt strange to leave everyone, as we were a close-knit team.
We trekked up volcanoes, across lava fields, visited water falls, and all across the harsh, but breath-taking landscape of Iceland. The weather was challenging – especially the wind and rain, but there were some days where we would wear shorts and t-shirts! The most memorable moment for me was at the top of Askja (the volcano), where we could see for hundred of kilometres. I would definitely do it all again if I could!
It was a great honour to be selected for the Duke’s Explorer Award and go to Buckingham Palace to meet Prince Andrew. On entry to Buckingham palace, we went through security and were greeted by butlers. We were led through red-carpeted corridors, with gold ornate coving, historic paintings and statues. We then met Prince Andrew, who was waiting to greet us and our parents with a handshake. We were offered tea and coffee, and then we stood and spoke about our individual experiences on the British Exploring expeditions; whether in Brazil, Iceland, Canada or the Himalayas, which was interesting for me to see what other expeditions were like for others. Going inside Buckingham palace to meet Prince Andrew was a real experience, and one which I will never forget.