Miles Harbot has kindly put this together about his TravelAward trip to Italy....
In (I think!) 1983 Paul Hickmott and I were lucky enough to be the recipients of the travel award. It followed a chance remark from the A level Biology teacher along the lines “why don’t you apply for the travel award and study the flora and fauna of the Dolomite mountains in Italy?” It didn’t take us long to work out the award would just about cover two rail tickets and a few weeks on a campsite there. We couldn’t believe our luck when we were told we had got it! The journey there was by several trains, sleeping overnight in a couple of train stations (Milan stank and was filthy!) and a hazardous bus journey over mountain passes which got us to the campsite at Corvara, our base for the next few weeks. The mountains around the village formed the most stunning natural amphitheatre. We were truly blessed.
We studied the flora and fauna at various altitudes taking temperature, humidity and acidity readings every few hours (including nights) at various altitudes, and drawing the flora for a report we submitted to the School afterwards. Most importantly though we had lots of fun. We were befriended by numerous Italian families while on the campsite who fed us and took us with them on trips, and met the most fabulous family - Gianni, Marie-Angela and their daughter Federica (with the surname Ferrari – but alas they drove a very dodgy Fiat powered by liquid gas that seemed to need to be fuelled up every 50 miles) who, when our money was running low, took us back to their home near Parma where we stayed for an extra week and were treated like kings (in those days there was not so much tourism in remote Italy and we got the distinct impression a lot of the villagers had not seen a British person since they last passed through in World War II). It was, and remains, one of the most fun experiences I have ever hadand which taught me a lot. I think Paul would say the same even though his memory might be a little more fuzzy than mine due to the fact local wine was cheaper than water on the campsite!
Stephen Johnson writes the following about his Travel Award trip in 1989....
In 1989 Andrew Sederman and I applied for a Travel Award. Our purpose was to visit Iceland to try to meet some of the now adults who were involved in the first international school trip from Abbotsholme lead by Mr David Dean in 1968 to Iceland.
We won an award that covered our flights from Glasgow to Iceland and our camping costs for the 24 days. Our aim was to travel around the whole of Iceland roughly following the one road that circles the country. We left on 15th July 1989.
During the trip we managed to contact 4 of the people who had hosted the Abbotsholme visitors in 1968 and a subsequent trip made in 1972. Helga Duadottir met us at Reykjavik airport at 2300 on our arrival - when, due to the time of year and the Northern location, it was still broad daylight. She drove us to her sister Erna’s.
We reminisced and they then hosted us and showed us around Reykjavik for 48 hours before we set off around the country.
We climbed mountains into the snow but generally slept at lower levels. After a week of hitch hikingwe made it to Akureyri, 440 kms from Reykjavik. On the way we climbed mountains near Hof, repeating the journey of the 1972 expeditioners.
We also visited the golf course in Akureyri, the most northerly golf course in the world.
On the way we met two other people who had helped facilitate the Abbotsholme trips in 1968 and 1972 - ThornsteinEinerrson (the ex minister of sport) and Bjorn Danielsson who had helped the visitors when they were in the north of the island near Dalvik.
We had access to a flat in Akureyri - our two new friends Helga and Erna had given us keys to an empty flat which they let us use for a few days. We relaxed and recovered here before setting off on the second half of the trip.
Going via several geysers and The Blue Lagoon, we then got picked up by a guy driving a Porsche who gave us a very generous lift back to the airport.
Overall we travelled 1600 km hitch hiking or on a bus. We walked approx 200kms. It is fair to say being so wet and tired so much on this trip hasn’t endeared me to camping - it’s turned me into more of a glamping traveller - but it was a wonderful experience and has made me keen to visit and explore many other Baltic countries since.
......thank you Stephen for sharing this with all of us OAs. I think a lot of must now wish we’d also applied, and gone on an amazing adventure!
Time to get thinking about travel, as the club committee launches the 2020 Old Abbotsholmians’ Club Travel Award! The club hopes to ensure that OAs continue to travel, take to the hills and give back to the global community from which the Abbotsholme family is drawn.
So, if you’ll be aged 18-25 when you travel get in on the act and apply for this year's award!