At the start of December a group of 17 students and four staff left Benenden for a nine-day trek in Nepal.
It took the group from 900m above sea level to 4,130m above sea level; the route is undulating which adds to the challenge and there are quite a lot of steps along the way.
The first day's trekking ended with the challenging Ulleri steps which definitely required soul-searching from some!
Day two saw the group move to Ghorepani at the base of Poon Hill.
Day three started with an early morning walk to catch the sunrise at Poon Hill.
Day four takes in a steady climb to Chhomrong, which is known for its amazing steps, challenging those of Ulleri, which we were heading down before climbing the other side of the valley to Sinuwa.
Day five started with a gentle walk up, before we reached more downhill steps to Bamboo, the highest point so far on the trail.
Day six was planned to be a gentle walk for two hours up to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC). We woke to gentle snowfall and felt the walk would look much prettier. After just over two hours of walking through the snow, which was now about 30cms deep, we reached our destination.
After chatting with our mountain guide we decided to summit Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) that afternoon to ensure we did so when it was safe.
Day seven was another early start to get us moving out of the fresh snow and down to Bamboo.
The route down was almost unrecognisable from the route up the day before. The group powered through the day before reaching Bamboo and some guaranteed hot showers.
Day eight was a short day but one that included plenty of uphill steps as we tackled the Bamboo steps and the Chhomrong steps in quick succession. The pace was steady and the group was rewarded with some of the cutest puppies at Chhomrong.
Day nine was a short walk but one that started with a 280m Burma rope bridge, an amazing piece of engineering which was not for the faint hearted. After the bridge the trek winds its way down the Modi Khola before we ended the trek and headed back to Pokhara.
Following the trekking we visited the Gurkha Welfare Trust as part of our charity work and the Gurkha Museum as part of our cultural awareness.
There was another day on the bus before we reached Kathmandu via Swayambuntha, the Monkey Temple, for more culture and charity engagement. Our trip to Bloom Nepal allowed the staff and students an opportunity to see the hard work that the local students expend in the pursuit of their dreams and certainly opened a few eyes to how the Nepalese culture is very focused on achieving their targets.
The final day allowed us to visit Kathmandu Durbar Square to see the temples.