I’ve always liked shiny things. A treasure hunter at heart. Treasure comes in many forms, but non so familiar as pure gold! Maybe that was a subconscious reason that I ended up becoming an exploration geologist: travelling the world looking for shiny things fulfilled two of my greatest passions, and our gold hunting trip to the Arctic with Latymer Upper School was a really fantastic time that helped me with a third great passion.
Christophe Blanchard is the Head of Art at Latymer Upper, he runs the school’s expeditions programme, and he is a truly gifted individual. His pleasant manner and happy countenance pulls you in to listen to his smooth French accent as he tells you a story or a fact to do with something or other, of which he is brimming; and he has a lovely set of pearly whites to boot. If I could afford to employ him as our company photographer I certainly would, because his photography skills are stunning! And he does most of it with his phone, with what seems to be little to no effort at all for him. He truly has a knack for it. His students and his school are lucky to have him.
Sarah Fordyce is a bundle of fun, and I am pretty sure she could kill you in a fight! She is always where the action is, and she doesn’t hold back to get stuck in with the hard work. She is a great example of someone who sets the standard for her students. She wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything that she wouldn’t do herself.
Great integrity was what I saw on this trip in Sarah. Her students look up to her; they respect her, and she seems to have found the very most perfect balance of friendliness and discipline with her students, something that all of the teachers out there know, is the holy grail of success and development in the classroom. I guess that’s why the school trusts her with the position of Head of Year 13. She sees them off into the real world. I can see she is good at that job; she gets the students prepared to face reality.
We found just over 2 grams of gold on this last trip, a good find for a place that yields 0.5 gram per metric ton of earth dug. The students worked hard and had a great time with the other activities such as spoon and bowl carving, fire lighting and canoeing and wild camping in the wilderness. But the best times were sitting at dinner with new friends sharing stories, great food and lots of laughs. Everyone on that trip made a new connection with someone else. They got to learn something about another person and hopefully something about themselves too, and that to me is treasure.