Arctic Gold Trip 2019

The ‘Arctic Gold’ trip during the summer break took us to Tankavaara, a small gold mining community in Finland, 300km above the Arctic Circle. On the first day of the trip, our group of sixth formers and Latymer teachers met Kasper, a German gold-panning expert, who took us through the stages of gold panning, which we practiced with great enthusiasm and expectation. Our second day began with survival training began and we learned the practical skills of making fires and whittling.  Moving, the next morning, from land to water our native canoe guide, Ari, took us to the local river where we would begin our journey downstream – due to healthy competition between boats, we made it to the campsite in a speedy 2.5 hours.

Later in the trip, we returned to our gold mining experience. We were walked through each step by our expert gold digger, Marco, who had found 2kg of gold since the start of the year. On the final day of mining, we had perfected our technique. We rigorously cleaned every rock, ensuring every speck of gold made its way into the bucket for final panning. With the end in sight, everyone’s work rate doubled, all we had learned in the first couple of days of the trip was put into practice. After a productive day, we found we had achieved a similar amount of gold to that of yesterday. Our overall take worked out as roughly 2 grams which is worth approximately 120€.

Our last day in Finland included a walk up Tankavaara hill. Along the way, we passed many abandoned German bunkers from WW2 and learned about the history of the area during the war. Upon reaching the summit of the hill there were incredible views across Finland’s flat terrain. We were able to see into Norway and Russia which gave us an approximation for the size of Finland as a whole. Once we had returned from the walk we were treated to reindeer burgers, a dish that many of us had been eagerly awaiting for much of the trip! 

Everyone found the week very enjoyable and had a unique experience that will stay with them forever. We were all incredibly grateful to have gone on the trip and would like to say a massive thank you to the ReallyWild Team, Mrs Fordyce and Mr Blanchard for making the week so much stress-free fun!

Report by Yr 12 students from the Arctic Gold trip

 

 

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