Winter Survival Course – Sweden

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Last month our CEO, Matthew Hellyer, led the Pilgrim Bandits Winter Survival Course in Sweden. Commenting on the expedition, he said: 

“The expedition in Sweden was undertaken in order to push our injured service personnel to their physical and mental limits in an environment that they are mostly inexperienced in. We took eight amputees and two mentally scarred soldiers, who all managed every activity and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

“It had the added bonus of involving 80 husky dogs, of all different breeds, to which our injured veterans really connected with. They not only utilised these animals to pull the sled, but they got completely involved in the caring, feeding and administration of looking after these magnificent beasts.

“Our guys and girls learnt all the skills to survive unassisted in freezing conditions and then put all into practice by constructing and sleeping in snow holes, all this at minus 20. They not only had to build and live in their holes but had to construct and light their own fires using friction fire technique. They slept on reindeer hides and ate locally captured game. 

“To top it all the team conducted their own bush-tucker trial by eating the Viking delicacy of putrefied herring and then took a dip in the frozen lake. 

“They managed to relax in the hand-built sauna beside the lake before finishing the trip off with a prize-giving and singalong in the local pub.

“A great trip for everyone!”

Matt served 25 years in the British Army, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer in the UK Special Forces. He is also founder of The Next Step (Veterans Transition) – an organisation that helps veterans prepare and transition into a civilian career, placing them not only into the civilian work space but also enabling them to manage their ambitions. 

If you would like to learn more about Pilgrim Bandits’ upcoming expeditions to Norway and how you can get involved, contact gm@pilgrimbandits.org

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