Ideas for Expedition Aims

Stuck for what to have as your expedition aim? Here are a few ideas that participants have used in the past which may inspire you…

Whilst we’ve put the ideas under headings of modes of transport, many of the ideas for aims can, of course, be used for other forms of transport.


On foot

History:

  • Explore and document cairns.
  • Investigate the changes in local agriculture over the last 100 years.
  • Explore an historic place made famous in a film or television programme and document the scenery.
  • Investigate Roman sites around Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Photograph and describe interesting old buildings along your route.

Environment:

  • Decorate a white t-shirt, using inspiration from the scenery that you see along your route.
  • Search for forms of fungi, photograph or sketch them and record them.
  • Paint different types of trees and correctly identify them.
  • List and film the different kinds of birds that you see.
  • As second mini aim, draw all the different star constellations that you see.

Teamwork:

  • Create a series of communication signals to use within your team.
  • Do a fun team game or challenge each day to promote team building.
  • Make a video diary of your team’s experiences, from camping and cooking to reaching your destination.
  • Design a team motif and make a badge or accessory for each team member to wear that reflects your journey.
  • As a team, identify different team roles and rotate each day.

Conservation:

  • Monitor the levels of litter on your route and plan how you could campaign to reduce this.
  • Consider the impact of vehicles on the environment along your route.
  • Record evidence of wildlife breeding programmes and how you would start your own.
  • Investigate the maintenance of footpaths and hedgerows.
  • Study local efforts to stop the erosion of coastlines.

Physical:

  • Record your different emotions over the expedition and relate it to the physical challenge.
  • Set a group challenge to speed walk every day for a certain period of time and keep each other going.
  • Monitor what time of day people have the most energy to push themselves harder and improve your journey times.
  • Film warm up and warm down sessions before and after your day’s walk.
  • Monitor changing heart rates and body temperature on the expedition route.

Literature:

  • Write a series of poems of your experiences and critique them.
  • Visit areas which inspired poetry, such as the Lake District and Wordsworth.
  • Explore sites made famous in folklore, such as Robin Hood’s legendary home of Sherwood Forest.
  • Use your funniest expedition moments to create a play and perform it as your presentation.
  • Write a short ghost story or mystery tale based loosely on your expedition.

By bicycle


Teamwork:

  • Keep a log of the weather throughout your expedition and how you adapted to it as a team.
  • Create a team song or chant to motivate each other and use it in your
  • Monitor how well the group stay together using distance between lead and rear cyclist as a guide, and improve this over your expedition.
  • Create a video diary of your team’s expedition, concentrating on positives about each other.
  • Investigate difficulties in communication when cycling and find methods to overcome them.

Environment:

  • Make a documentary about the most common wildlife in the area.
  • Investigate the features of a river using an adjacent cycle path.
  • Sketch some of the insects you spot and find out what they are.
  • Photograph different types of flora and fauna on your route and compare them with each other.
  • Create a nature guide of your route for future visitors.

Conservation:

  • Consider the impact of tourism on your surroundings.
  • Examine the conservation efforts for wildlife in ponds and lakes on your route.
  • Monitor the management of paths on your route, such as fallen trees and overgrowth.
  • Investigate the erosion caused by bikes compared to foot travel.
  • Study the state of repair of bike-friendly styles and gates.

History:

  • Find clues to local industry or crafts that historically took place where you visit.
  • Plan a route near a castle and explore how old it is and who occupied it in the past.
  • Cycle along parts of a disused railway to explore its history and use of any surviving buildings.
  • Note the period and style of architecture of interesting buildings you pass.
  • Plan a tour of famous battlefields, learning about their history.

By wheelchair


Teamwork:

  • Create a training film for other groups about navigation and expedition skills.
  • Make a diary of the group’s experiences and how you supported each other.
  • Create a mood board showing the team’s changes in mood throughout the expedition and how you have helped each other through hard times.
  • As a team, identify skills you would like to improve and create a team diary showing how you are improving.
  • As a team, create an expedition music playlist that represents your experiences.

Environment:

  • Draw tree silhouettes to create a piece of artwork for your presentation.
  • Prepare a route along a towpath and note the wildlife you see.
  • Sketch wildlife you see and do an exhibition at the end of your expedition.
  • Report on the accessibility of open spaces to wheelchair users and others with restricted mobility.
  • Photograph and identify different types of stones and rocks.

History:

  • Discover sites tied to local myths and legends.
  • Produce an illustrated guide to a stretch of canal, focussing on its history.
  • Follow a disused railway track and investigate ruins and new uses of old buildings.
  • Take photographs of historic sites on your route and create a calendar.
  • Draw buildings of different periods along your route.

By boat


Conservation:

  • Discover a grading system for beach water quality and analyse the water.
  • Analyse the human impact on the coast.
  • Investigate the effects that boating has on a range of wildlife.
  • Study man-made and natural sea defences. Analyse their effectiveness.
  • Monitor and record the birds that you see for the RSPB’s BirdTrack project.

Teamwork:

  • Explore the different team roles needed on a boat and give everyone the opportunity to do a new role.
  • As a team, follow part of the route Captain Cook took from the Tyne to the Thames and keep a diary.
  • Log the incidents that test your team every day and think about how you could have dealt with the incident more effectively.
  • As a team, on your journey make a flag which you can raise on the last day.
  • Record your boating adventures and make a short film.

Boating skills:

  • Learn all the knots you need for your journey and make a knot board.
  • Make a film about the boat’s equipment and how you use and look after it.
  • Create a map of a local estuary and compare it with a professional map upon your return.
  • Take photographs of different types of boat you see during your journey.
  • Write a guide on navigation skills for other expedition teams.

Creativity:

  • Write a short story about your boating experience.
  • Photograph the birds you see along your route and upload to a blog on your return.
  • Invent your own sea shanties or pirate-style songs and use them in your presentation.
  • Record news-style bulletins of your daily challenges and use them in your presentation.
  • Create a figurehead for your boat.

By canoe/kayak


History:

  • Investigate Second World War defences.
  • Note the age and history of buildings and areas that you pass.
  • Plot the course of a canal and explore the history of why it was built in that location.
  • Use authentic old canoes or kayaks and compare how they are made and used compared to modern techniques.
  • Sea kayak alongside the D-Day Normandy beaches.

Environment:

  • List different flora and fauna that you see by the side of the canal.
  • Sketch all the colours you see in nature and create a colour wheel.
  • Make a recording of the sounds of nature you hear on your expedition.
  • Investigate samples of the river bed on your route and compare them with each other.
  • Investigate the use of towpaths, type and frequency of use.

Conservation:

  • Help make a canal navigable by keeping a log of parts that need clearing and send it to the owners of the waterway.
  • Monitor the human contamination of the waterway and its immediate surroundings.
  • Consider the impact of boat traffic on local wildlife.
  • Photograph weirs and other water features and investigate their use.
  • Study the effect of human erosion on towpaths.

Teamwork:

  • After keeping a daily log, each evening, reflect on what challenged and tested your team, suggesting ways of dealing with possible future problems.
  • Analyse the team’s need to have a leader and what skills and qualities they should have.
  • As a team, investigate problems in communication when canoeing and find methods to make it easier.
  • Produce a promotional film about how much fun a canoe expedition can be.
  • As a team, record your expedition experiences and create a scrap book.

The Green Blue have created some example expedition aim guidance documents that could be used for water based expeditions:


On horseback


Environment:

  • Investigate dams in the Pennines and describe their purpose.
  • Create some artwork to demonstrate the different wildlife and environment you can see on horseback compared to on foot.
  • Plan an expedition with sea views and make a collage of the photos you take along the way.
  • Note plants you see en route and which ones are medicinal or can be eaten.
  • Explore unspoilt beaches and record sea life that you spot.

Culture:

  • Explore the use of horses in current farming practices.
  • Write limericks to describe your experiences and recite them at your presentation.
  • Produce a poster to promote your route to other visitors.
  • Take photographs of your horses and each other and exhibit them at your presentation.
  • Cook food from different cultures and compare the flavours.

History:

  • Travel between isolated historical monuments or buildings and investigate their previous use or function.
  • Travel around sites where Vikings are said to have landed.
  • Investigate civil war battle sites and learn about the use of cavalry.
  • Find and record examples of ancient constructions, such as bridges and dry stone walls.
  • Plan a route to visit and photograph deserted villages in Scotland.

Teamwork:

  • Write a play script which represents your team experience and perform it as your expedition presentation.
  • Produce a ‘top tips’ guide for working as a team on horseback.
  • Create a card for each team member at the end of your expedition, saying why they added to the team’s success.
  • Make notes of your team experiences and present it in the form of a radio broadcast.
  • Create a series of games which you can play whilst horse-riding.

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