Scotsabroad's Weblog

November 24, 2009

How lucky am I?

Filed under: School trips — scotsabroad @ 7:31 pm

Last weekend I spent four days and three nights accompanying 11 pupils on their expedition for the International Award. One of my colleagues was leading the trip so that meant I had very little responsibility and lots of time to enjoy the scenery. What gorgeous scenery it is too. The photo above shows the view from Egypt’s highest mountain, Gebel Katherina, and the other photo shows me at 2642 metres above sea level on the TOP of Egypt’s highest mountain. Lucky me! I think I may be the only Fraser or Davidson in our family who has been so high up a mountain. However feel free to disabuse me of this notion. I can cope with the disappointment.

I had such a great time on this school trip. We stayed in a campsite with beds and showers on the first night ( and then slept in two ‘gardens’ for the following nights.  The gardens are walled enclosures with rudimentary facilities such as stone built rooms and bamboo walled toilets. Needless to say I struggled a bit with these washing arrangements but I did just get on with it and got used to the idea that I was never going to be completely clean until I got back to Cairo.

The first night I slept outside under the stars: I saw five shooting stars but  I shivered my way through a very broken nights sleep. Even though I was wearing four top layers, socks, trousers, a hat and my sleeping bag was pinned to the ground by a camel hair blanket , I was very, very cold. I cursed myself for not buying a four season sleeping bag as the three season bag just didn’t keep me warm enough. When I did finally get up the next morning my colleague declared that he had been so warm that he had had to kick off his blanket. He has a goosedown four season bag!

The silence in the Sinai is incredible. In fact there is an article here about a woman who runs holidays featuring silence and she bases the holiday in the Sinai ( As I lay trying to get to sleep I couldn’t hear anything much but I did hear donkeys braying and some blood curdling screams which I presume came from foxes or animals being killed by birds of prey. I didn’t see any birds of prey during the four days but I did see a spiny mouse at one of the stops and quite a few butterflies.

The best part of the trip was the sense of achievement I felt when I got to the tops of the mountains. I also walked up Gebel Abbas Pasha at 2304 metres to see an Ottoman castle abandoned by Mohammed Ali’s grandson.  Oh yes – the pupils were fantastic walkers too.



  1. well done – what an adventure – makes us very envious

    Comment by Ian Fraser — November 24, 2009 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  2. Mexico City: altitude 2,240m. But wedding we attended in 2006 took me beyond that. I’d say to about 2,643m but then I can’t really be certain.

    Comment by Alistair — December 1, 2009 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

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