Voyagers.io’s ENGLISH FOREST ADVENTURE: Dartmouth, Devon, September 14 to 16 2019

On September 14-16 2019, thirty diverse individuals will spend two days in the Dart Valley in South Devon learning survival skills from specialist former Royal Marine and Special Forces instructors. We will be based for the first day and night in a forest camp among the ancient oaks of the Raleigh Estate, still owned by the direct descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh. The adventure will culminate in a formal dinner in the nearby Dartmouth Hotel, Golf & Spa, where we will spend the second night.

Our instructors will challenge us to work as a group, analyse and plan our tasks, and take mission-critical decisions as we explore the forest. We will learn how to build our shelters and provide food, and will exchange stories around a fire at the end of the day. The goal is to offer an enjoyable, memorable experience, while exploring both the stunning landscape and our own capabilities and limits.

The schedule

DAY ONE: We will arrive at the Raleigh Estate car park at 10am, and be met by the team. From here it is a short walk down to the camp. After an introductory briefing, we will spend the day across a number of locations in the woods. At each of these we will be presented with a set of challenges, tests, exercises and scenarios. The theme is very much one of inclusivity, and everyone will have a valid role. None of the locations is more than a short walk apart, and each group will be selected to ensure that there is a good spread of physical ability, so the more active can have a go at the demanding roles, and the more cerebral can assist in the planning and supervision of those roles. The evening culminates in a feast around the fire, followed by the consumption of medicinal beverages (this is a survival situation, after all) and fireside chats. We will then sleep in woodland lodges, some of our own construction.

DAY TWO: We begin with a self-cooked breakfast in camp, followed by a large-scale exercise. The group will be split into teams of six, and be tasked to locate a series of clues in the surrounding countryside. We will have a variety of assets at our disposal, including off-road vehicles, climbing equipment, and a fast boat (driven by an experienced skipper). The group will have to decide which team is best suited to each task, and then disperse to locate each clue. We will then reconvene for lunch, with each section of the clues joining up to reveal a final challenge for the group as a whole. On completion of this last event, there will be a debriefing session at camp, and — hopefully — a celebration of success. We will then walk to the Raleigh Estate car park, and make our way to the Dartmouth Hotel, Golf & Spa. Here, after freshening up, we will put on formal wear for a celebratory meal (with a surprise guest speaker).

Our adventure instructors

Our instructors represent the Royal Marines, The Parachute Regiment and Explosives Ordnance Disposal (the legendary EOD). They have decades of military experience, and have worked with blue-chip companies and elite sports teams. We also have an innovative educator. They are led by MONTY HALLS, who served for eight years as a Royal Marines Officer, during which he worked for Nelson Mandela as part of a British Military Advisory Training Team in South Africa. He has subsequently led expeditions throughout the world. He has written ten books, and presented series and films for the BBC, Discovery, Channel 4, National Geographic, and Channel 5. He is in great demand as a speaker on leadership in extremis and team dynamics under stress. Monty was awarded the Bish Medal in 2006 for services to exploration, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award by Sport Diver Magazine. (Instructors may be changed, according to availability.)

MARC WICKS MBE retired from the Royal Marines Commandos (RMC) after 32 years of service. He conducted numerous operational deployments at command team level and attained the highest position as an enlisted rank in the Royal Marines, the Corps Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). His work was recognised with the MBE award. A keen sportsman, Marc has competed at national level.

GRAHAM “JED” STONE spent 25 years in the Royal Marine Commandos, including operational roles, four years at Joint Services Mountaineering Training Centres, eight years at the Commando Training Centre and time at the Royal Naval School of Leadership and Management. He led teams that broke two Guinness World Records and represented Great Britain internationally at two sports. He has extensive experience coaching corporate leaders.

After completing a degree in Zoology before his 20th birthday, ANDY TORBET spent ten years in the British Forces as a bomb disposal officer, paratrooper and military diver. He commanded the Army Underwater and Airborne Bomb Disposal Teams and the High Risk Search Team of the UK’s Maritime Counter- Terrorist Unit. He also became one of the youngest captains in the British Army at 23. After completing operation tours in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Falklands and Northern Ireland, he left to pursue a career in exploration and adventure media. Initially funding his own exploration and adventure projects with ex-Forces work in intelligence, surveillance and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and West Africa, he went on to become a TV presenter on the BBC in 2011.

Logistics and timings

Arrival: Saturday September 14 2019, 10am

Departure: Monday September 16 2019, afternoon

The formal activities (and the availability of our leaders) will end after breakfast on Monday at the Dartmouth Hotel, Golf & Spa. You are invited to join an informal hike planned for the rest of the morning, after which we will look for pub-lunch options.

There are trains from London to Totnes, and we will arrange transfers on Saturday to the camp plus return transfers at 10am and 3pm back to the station.

How to reserve your place

Strictly limited to 30 participants.

Voyagers.io is running this adventure as not-for-profit. The participation fee of £600 (no VAT) is what it is costing us. For a couple, the per-person fee is £530. The fee covers:

•Full participation in the English Forest Adventure, including instructor team led by Monty Halls and one night’s camping on the Raleigh Estate

•One night’s dinner, bed and breakfast at the Dartmouth Hotel, Golf & Spa (including wine served at table)

•All food and drink served as a group during the adventure (participants are responsible for their additional hotel bar and other hotel expenses )

•Transfers from Totnes station to the camp on Saturday morning and back to Totnes station at 10am and 3pm on Monday

•Membership of the Voyagers.io community and priority invitations to future adventures and dinners

HOW THE FEE BREAKS DOWN:

Your fee covers what we estimate will be these costs to us (per person) that we pass on to you without adding a mark-up:

  • LEADERSHIP TEAM’S PRODUCTION & DELIVERY: £200

  • HOTEL & DINNER: £160

  • TRANSPORT: £30

  • OPERATIONS: £60

  • FOOD & DRINKS: £80

  • STAFF TRAVEL: £20

  • CONTINGENCY: £50

  • TOTAL: £600 (to include no fee for host nor profit for Voyagers.io)