I arrived at the North Coast of Devon a few days before the guests to beautiful light balmy winds, 22C of warm beaming sunshine and a location that couldn’t offer a more amazing horizon. It’s a good job IGO Adventurers come prepared for all-weather… less than 24 hours later, 32 mph gusts and moorland rain tried and failed to put a dent in the smiles, performance, camaraderie and spirit that was alive during the weekend.
Every eager and friendly adventurer arrived to settle into the tipi for hot tea, coffee and warm welcomes from the IGO Team – chatting about where they’d come from, where they were going and what this challenge meant to them. It always takes a little while for the camp to really settle into the environment, so allowing for this time is important for everyone to feel at home. Next up, the first delicious meal of many was hot off the BBQ and served by the smiley Carla of El Huichol. Using just fire and her custom constructed smoker and BBQ she cooked up a storm in a storm. Frittatas, herby fregola salad, stuffed peppers and ciabatta with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stomachs full and the energy still eager, Bobby took the reigns and introduced everyone to IGO Adventures, the team and the community all of our guests are now forever a part of.
Digestion time was filled with Kieran, our resident osteopath from Just One Body, giving an insightful talk on Susan, his digital skeleton, whilst telling tales of the body and the mind and how injury prevention is much more than just a stretch. He opened up the talk for question time and people learned vital psychobiological skills to help them notice when one might need to engage in a little positive conversation between the body and the brain – particularly useful for the pending 1km swim and 24km coastal hike. We heard through camp whispers that this golden nugget worked a treat.
The afternoon was jam-packed with bushcraft skills and fire-making. A glimmer of sunshine announced itself and everyone broke free into the outdoors to embrace the extra challenge of a little wind in their quest to make fire. A tea break warmed everyone up before they embarked upon a wonderful foraging experience of the local pickings, highlighting what is and isn’t safe to consume. The evening was closed off with El Huichol’s ox cheek and borlotti bean stew with green beans. To whet the taste buds ahead of a wee dram of Talisker, a desert of charred peaches, sweet buckwheat with Talisker and mascarpone cream was served. Jason, an expert mixologist, then did his thing and helped everyone settle into a sleepy state with a Talisker tasting before heading back to the tents for a wild night of rest.
Fuelled and ready to go from early morning eggs, muesli, coffee and tea with bagels to go, the challenge began with our partners Be Military Fit leading a warm-up down to the water’s edge of the beautiful Lee Abbey Bay. Here, everyone donned their wetsuit and transitioned to the swim. Upon seeing their comrades entering the inviting North Atlantic, some last-minute swimmers decided that they too wanted in on the action and felt the swim was possible.
Coming out of the water, the participants transitioned to the run. The 24km of rugged coastline challenged our challengers with scenery too beautiful not to just stop. Running, jogging, hiking and stopping for group snaps meant that this special 24km was an experience for everyone. Crossing the line into camp knowing they’d all experienced quite literally the same highs and lows glued together the like-minded friendships. Just One Body were at the ready to lend a firm hand.
The bar was opened and Talisker Whisky cocktails started to flow. The sun came out and the balmy breeze returned as the finishers came together to welcome their friends one by one through the blue and orange IGO flags. That evening, stories and food were shared by friends around the fire until well after sunset.
Thankfully, on Sunday everyone rose to sunshine albeit with achy legs and a view to admire. There was time to wake up, refuel, spend some time with new friends and soak up the setting. A yoga stretch and meditation in the sunlight with the blue hue of the ocean helped the team to relax and reset ready for their trip home out of the wild but still with that same spirit.
During the journey home the connections continued to ping and buzz, photos being shared, numbers exchanged and memories recounted.
It became apparent that the journeys home weren’t simple. Breakdowns and delays meant a lot of time for a real reflection, with one guest taking the time to share a thoughtful poem…
When embarking on our recent trip with IGO,
We all headed down to sweet little Martinhoe.
The talented team ensured we were well looked after,
Even down to the very last plaster.
Wind and rain could not keep our spirits down,
(Especially after sinking Scottish whiskey brown).
So as dawn broke with a pace on race day,
We all headed straight (????♀) down to Lee’s Bay.
Starting from there with an ocean dip,
(I personally was already keen for a kip),
We headed through many a hill and vale,
Forest, and stream, plus the odd gale.
Orange arrows kept our morale going,
Even though hip flexor pain was ever-growing.
And knowing our osteo was back in camp,
Shuffled us all up the never-ending last ramp.
Through valley, wood, heather and hill,
Some even sought out popping the odd pill,
As even post stretchy BMF warm up,
Some of those ascents were just ‘narp!’
Even in the bleak mid-distance,
Seeing our tents on far hills helped with persistence,
With IGO flags waving us in on arrival,
Certainly helped with all our survival.
Talisker ensured our behaviour got dafter,
As celebratory whiskey cocktails were sunk thereafter.
With epic El Huichol providing our fuel,
Magicking up delicious restorative gruel.
Many a warming fire pit was lit,
We all relaxed into a heavy log sit,
Discussing the pros of surfing in Croyde,
Some even dallying with ‘Snog, Marry or Avoid’,
We shall never know those answers….
However some just turned into bold chancers!????
We all now leave with memories fond,
Some of hot surf dudes blonde.
Thank you all for a fantastic weekend,
This is now (thankfully) The End.
*Sent from the side of a road with an AA truck towing Mark’s car away????