On the 12th July 2015, 26 (very brave) students, and 3 (perhaps even braver…?!?) teachers left England for a three week expedition to India.

The girls and staff had been planning, fundraising and preparing for this trip for over 18 months and it was finally upon them!

A relatively quiet journey down to Heathrow ensued (although Waitrose at Warwick services lost its entire stock of loo roll once the realisation that they might need more than they had taken set in…)

A safe flight, with Miss Maile constantly reminding them to avoid the movies and sleep as they were travelling forward in time (although not every one listened…) and a whistle stop tour of Delhi began, India Gate, and a driving tour of the main sites, followed by a very welcome lunch, then a night (well 4 hours of sleep) in a 5* hotel (definitely earned its 5 stars!) and we were off again on another flight up to Leh, in the Himalayas!!!

We spent a couple of days acclimatizing (some suffering from the altitude worse than others) through sleeping, shopping and exploring the local area. Buying birthday cake for Robyn and Georgia accidentally resulted in everyone wishing Miss Maile a happy 18th- needless to say she was delighted!

Then we were off (again!) to set up camp in the Village Nimmu! We spent 7 days camping in the forest by the school (not too many creepy crawlies but a fair few storms and a lot of dogs…and no showers!)

Our days quickly fell into routine. We were woken by our utterly incredible camp team at a predetermined time (with a cup of tea and a bowl of washing water- there’s service for you!) and served a lovely breakfast, then we would spend the morning renovating, building, clearing, cleaning and painting the High School next door. It was amazing to really see the the difference we were making. The children and staff seemed delighted and even threw us a morning of celebration on the last day, which involved speeches, children singing and way too much of our Sandbach teachers dancing!

We were sad to stop the renovations but we were given the chance to spend the next two days working with the local families in their fields and homes. Following this we began our three day trek (which very quickly became a two day trek- seriously, it was really hot and very high and it was hard!!!). The girls were amazing and split easily into three groups, encouraging each other up the mountain- although after 5.30 hours (and we still had much more to go), we realised our ‘short’ 3-5 hour trek was not going to happen and had to rethink…the camp truck came to save the day!

The next day we thought we’d give this ‘baby trek’ another go, ha! It was harder! We did, however manage to finish this one (although my snails did get a little help getting to the top…) and everyone slept very well that night! The decision was made to change the itinerary and head back to Leh early, and visit the donkey sanctuary instead – everyone was delighted, and they (the donkeys) were very cute and very full after we had gone!). But the best bit?! A shower!!! After 9 days!!! Phew!

Following this, we set off again on a looooooooooong bus journey to Lake Tsomoriri and the chance to visit and work with nomadic families for the day.

The next day we were back in the buses (with our new favourite driver Barry!) and up we went to Taglang La the second highest pass in the world (although the altitude was a bit much for some and so we didn’t hang around!)

Back down we went, and off to Agra! To visit the Taj Mahal (Totally as brilliant and wonderful and beautiful as you would expect!) and the old city of Agra (ask the girls about the wives’ palaces sometime…especially how the Muslim and Christian wives would have felt…hmmm…)   Then back to our 5* hotel and some 5* room service with the rest of our kitty! Then home again 🙁

We had such an incredible time, formed wonderful memories, and the girls truly were fantastic (the dinner time conversations will take some beating…)