Team Building in the South West

Weekend in the West – British Telemark Team Building

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Jack Harvard Taylor

Midday on Friday I left London, with my buddy Freddie, on the road to Plymouth.. 5 hours later we arrived at captain Nobby’s (Andrew Clarke) house where were warmly greeted with a delicious BBQ before getting our heads down.

At 0700 Freddie and I were woken by Andrew. After quick breakfast we were on the road east to Devon in the Mercedes Benz GL with fellow team member Chris Wotton, Gus Olds (team physio) and Dave (Andrew’s next-door neighbour). After a short drive we arrived at our first activity of the weekend – ‘Coasteering’! This involved combination of swimming, climbing and jumping into the sea. There we were enthusiastically met by Sam Starkie from Vertical Descents who gave us wetsuits and a safety brief before escorting us down to the sea along the rugged coastal path. With a quick 15 minute walk were holding our breath belly-flopping into the sea! What great fun it was – jumping off huge cliffs, exploring deep, dark caves while also getting our mornings exercise, swimming around the headland.

The Coasteering Gang

Before we knew it, it was 1400 and time to start our afternoon activity – mountain biking. Chris and Andrew led the pack with Gus not far behind and Freddie and I bringing up the rear. I’m not really too sure where it was we went but it was a nice ride in the wood followed by an urban tour of Plymouth. By 6pm I was shattered but we still had one of the most important team bonding activities ahead of us – the evening lash-up! After a quick shower we were making our way back into Plymouth where we enjoyed a (yummy) curry in one of Plymouth’s finest curry places. Feeling rather full Andrew showed us some of his favourite watering-holes in Plymouth, starting off in Navy we quickly moved onto Annabel’s which thankfully had a slightly younger feel to the venue..! There we consumed and danced into the early hours of the morning before finally getting a cab home after what had been a very long day.

Gus, Andrew & Chris

The next morning we had a slightly more casual start with a drive east to Kingsbury Estuary where we boarded Chris Wotton’s super quick rib. The weather was amazing with the sun beating down and before long we were in open water. Equipped with a waterski Chris gave a most impressive monoski demonstration with Andrew at the helm. Then it was my turn. Having watched Chris make it look so easy I was confident I would be up in seconds.. How wrong I was!! After several failed attempts we progressed onto the ‘Batwing’ an inflatable towed behind the boat at high speeds. First Freddie and I had a go on it – holding on for our dear lives Chris put the throttle down, we must have been doing 40mph plus, only a few inches above the water! Next up it was Andrew and Gus and after a few quick runs up and down they both simultaneously flew off and into the sea. They both hit the deck hard with Andrew crashing on top of Gus. I could see something was wrong as we came back around to pluck them out of the water. Gus had dislocated his shoulder and was in pain, as he later described what had happened, “basically I was fine till the fat f*cker landed on me”!!

Chris rigging the 'Batwing'

After a trip to the small, local hospital we said good bye to Gus as he went onto get an x-ray to determine the damage to his shoulder. The rest of us went onto the Wotton residence where Mel (Chris’s wife) and children received us for Sunday lunch with Alice (Andrew’s wife) and children. We enjoyed some very tender lamb before Freddie and I had to shoot off up to Bristol.

Skipper Chris, Freddie and Gus (putting on a brave face)!Skipper Chris, Freddie and Gus (putting on a brave face)!

What a great weekend full of fun and banter! My thanks go out Andrew and Chris for organising such a great weekend, Alice for her kind hospitality in the Clarke family home, Mel for a delicious Sunday lunch and finally Vertical Descents for a great day Coasteering.