My Castaway Survival Challenge 2018

Having been inundated with questions about my latest castaway adventure, I wanted to share my thoughts. I’ve always had a love of camping, campfires and nature. Nothing makes me happier than sitting around a campfire with friends and family, cooking, sharing, and talking. I’ve felt like that for as long as I can remember. For years I have watched programmes such as Bear Gryll’s, and tingled with excitement at the thought of having to survive in a remote location. This year, I decided that my urge to ‘go wild’ need attention, and typed the words ‘Castaway Experience’ into Google. Within just a few minutes, The Royal British Legion Castaway Experience popped up onto my screen, and I booked there and then.

Having raised funds for the British Legion to participate, I’ve just returned from my experience. And I loved every minute. Literally, every single minute. Prior to the event, we were told to “expect the unexpected” which filled me with excitement. I wasn’t disappointed. Without giving too much away (for next year’s participants), meeting the other participants in a hotel the night before, led to our first challenge! We were all expecting a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed in the hotel prior to our departure the following morning. We didn’t get what we expected! (Much to our amusement).

The following morning we left early, and drove boats from the marina, to our secret destination which was a lot of fun! We had no idea where we were going, but were told to follow the boat ahead. Forty minutes later we arrived at our castaway destination, a remote beach surrounded by forests. Greeted by survival instructors, we discovered that our first task was to build our home for the week. Split into teams of two, we each built shelters from logs, wood and bracken. Working together as a team and watching it all come together was incredibly rewarding. Lighting the campfire made it more homely and welcoming. It proved to be a very solid structure, which served us well.

Throughout the week, we experienced many ‘mini-lectures’ through which the survival instructors delivered their knowledge. We learnt to start fires using various methods including a bow drill which I loved. We prepared partridge, pigeon and learnt to skin a rabbit. (I apologise profusely to vegetarian’s reading. Regarding the rabbit, you will be pleased to know that although I did this, I didn’t particularly enjoy it and would only do it again in an extreme survival situation). Experiencing sea life raft survival was so much fun, (once I’d actually managed to get in it) as was the night navigation. Lying in bracken, giggling hysterically, waiting to ‘ambush’ the other team was definitely one of the highlights! As was cooking bannock , a bread style cake on the campfire. Hunger led to us foraging crab apples, rosehips and blackberries to eat. Crab apples stuffed with blackberries and roasted on the fire were delicious; I lost count of the amount that I ate!

This experience was a firm reminder, that beneath our material possessions, we are all just human beings with the same basic needs. Sat around the campfire at night, sharing stories together, it brought home the truth: as we really need is food, water, shelter and people. And that really is enough.

As for what I missed? Salt and hugs. Seriously. I craved salt and seasoning by day three. A pack of small pork pies secretly found their way into camp towards the end of the week. We all had a tiny pork pie smeared with smuggled in Branston. After a few days without flavourings, the taste was truly orgasmic. We were literally rolling around the floor in ecstasy, moaning with delight. And as for hugs? I craved them more than salt. Never in a million years did I think that I would miss physical touch as much as I did.

Overall, it was a truly wonderful experience, and I learnt so much, and made some amazing new friends. I would highly recommend a Castaway Experience to all!