I, quite naturally, arrived in a highly unsociable and anxious state; especially as I found that we'd each been separated into designated groups. I had originally signed up to NCS alongside multiple school friends - though did actually found it proved beneficial for me not to be placed with them within accommodation and activities. It forced me to put myself out there, and so I have met some truly wonderful people.
Having met at a local sports centre - whilst waiting for the coaches to arrive - we participated in icebreaker activities alongside fellow group members. The first person that I was to come across was Vic - who I now consider to be one of my closest friends, despite only knowing her for less than a week. Already, we've developed many an insight joke.
We spent five days at PGL Dalguise - an activity centre situated close to Perth, in Scotland. I shared a room with four other girls - and though I was initially slightly uneasy about the idea at first; I soon found that it allowed us to better get to know one another; as to be expected as we were in such close proximity. We even made full use of the corridor between each of the rooms by using it as a makeshift hangout.
Our first full day was notably hectic - in that it entailed a 20km hike around the local rural area. I won't deny that I found it incredibly tiring at the time - especially as we ascended steep hills - as well as the fact that I complained rather excessively throughout; though, it retrospect, I see it as having been a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The walk took us to our accommodation for the night - tents. In spite of the cold, vile portable toilets and food from a pouch, which wasn't overly delectable - it was nice to sit out in front of the sunset on tree stumps alongside friends, getting to know one another. Still, I'd probably like to consider it my first and last camping experience.
Our return journey in the following morning took a mere forty minutes; and so we were given some much appreciated time for showers and socialising. The afternoon saw us carrying out problem solving activities in the woods, amidst small groups. To follow was abseiling - something I didn't actually participate in, in light of my great fear of heights.
One of the activites I enjoyed most would have to be archery on the fourth day. I'd only ever done this once prior - on a school trip, aged eleven - though had failed to even release the arrow from the bow. I seemed to have improved slightly as this time came around.
Rather expectedly, I didn't thrive at the vertical challenge; which involved us climbing up a series of ladders and tires; connected to some tall trees. I didn't manage to even get up to the first stage - which was quite embarassing - though I suppose I tried.
I still looked forward to three hours of raft building. Our team - named Ward - collected points through completing challenges before using them to 'purchase' equipment, such as barrels and ropes, to build a raft. Once it had been constructed; we were to test it out within a muddy lake - of notably chilly temperature. It resulted in a real life 'raft war' (if you've heard of the Miniclip game?) with the other team. Each team did prove competitive, with its own spontaneous chants.
I cannot wait to begin the second week of the programme; which will involve us staying in university-style accommodation; attempting independent life whilst learning a new skill amongst our group. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
Have you ever done NCS, and if so - did you enjoy your experience? What have you been up to recently? Do let me know in the comments section below (apologies for the unintended rhyme!).