Eight young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The twelve-to-fourteen-year-old adventurers take on Mount Roraima, one of the natural wonders of the world.
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'Eight young explorers are taking on the challenge
'of their lives...
'an extreme expedition in South America.'
That is mad!
'They're attempting a series of world firsts...'
Oh, my God!
'..going where no children have been...'
'..to reach some of the most awesome places on Earth.'
We've reached the top!
'They are following in the footsteps of Sir Walter Raleigh,
'the first Englishman to explore Guyana
'as he searched for El Dorado,
'the lost city of gold.
'Led by survival expert Ben Major,
'and record-breaking adventurer Polly Murray,
'the epic journey will push the eight explorers to the limit
I hate this...
Is he having a laugh?
It's too scary...
'Coming up... a massive mountain to climb.
-'Learning to go the green way.'
-I'd rather not.
'And a nightmare for Chanelle.'
I look like the Elephant Man at the moment.
'Previously, the eight explorers set sail from the Caribbean
'island of Tobago, heading to South America,
'just like Sir Walter Raleigh 400 years earlier.
'Before long, most of the first-time sailors were feeling the effects.
'Nikita avoided the dreaded sea-sickness...'
Best thing I've ever done!
'..proving to have an iron stomach, and real guts!'
I'm at the top!
'After four days sailing,
'they finally made it to the coast of Guyana.'
I can't wait to get onto dry land.
I wanted to come here nearly all my life.
'The tropical beach may look like paradise,
'but it comes with a huge number of mosquitoes.'
I'm getting munched to the point it's hellish. Yuck!
'They'll spend the night here, before going inland,
'so use mosquito nets as protection.'
I hate mosquitoes!
'Some, like Chanelle, have been bitten badly.'
Mosquitoes are everywhere.
I'm bitten all over, my knuckles,
even my bum!
I'm getting bitten by mosquitoes!
'Chanelle has quickly become close friends with Nikita.
'Little do they know much the bites will affect the entire trip.
'Sir Walter Raleigh was the first Englishman to sail to these shores,
'and he came to seek his fortune.
'He'd heard legends that Guyana had great riches,
'including El Dorado, a ruined city made of gold.
'Raleigh was led by guides to a remote tribe,
'who claimed to know where to find jewels and minerals.
'It seemed he'd hit the jackpot.'
'The tribesmen promised to bring us
'to a mountain that had stones the colour of gold.'
'Many believe Raleigh was being taken to Roraima,
'a unique table-top mountain rising 10,000 feet
'out of the rainforest, like a gigantic slice of cake.
'It's one of the most awesome places on the planet,
'and the explorers are going to try to climb it.'
It's a mad mountain. You look at it and go,
"There's no way to get to the top."
This is where everything ramps up and gets harder,
-a lot quicker.
-How long does it take to climb?
About two days. A long, long two days,
eight to ten hours walking every day.
It really means hard work!
'If they make it, they'll be the youngest on record to reach the top.'
I can feel my legs hurting already.
I thought he was going to say two hours! I'm a bit surprised.
You are very evil people!
I'm quite looking forward to it!
'Roraima sits at the meeting point of three countries,
'Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil, and the team have two days
'of travelling from the Guyana coast to Venezuela,
'the only starting point to tackle the mountain.
'It's their first glimpse of Guyana's rainforest,
'one of the most unspoilt jungles in the world.'
Look! They're flying!
'The explorers will spend the next month living rough,
'but have a last night in civilisation to sort their kit.'
-Going to need that.
'They'll have to carry everything with them,
'so packing light is essential.'
We're not allowed deodorant or anything.
I'm going to stink!
'Chanelle's having problems with her bites,
'which are making her face and body swell up.'
I've got them on my legs, my toes, my feet,
and it's made me have an allergy or something.
Poor Chanelle, her hands are all swollen.
She looks like she's done five rounds with Mike Tyson!
'Next morning, they load up for the final leg to Venezuela,
'but Chanelle's taken a serious turn for the worse.'
Morning. How are you feeling?
'Her face has swollen up badly in the night.
'Expedition doctor Fi takes a look.'
-Have you ever had swelling in the face before?
Tell me how you feel.
'Fi thinks Chanelle might be having a severe allergic reaction
'to the insect bites.'
What we need to do is give you antihistamine tablets
to try and reduce the swelling.
I look like the Elephant Man.
We need to keep a close eye on her. If things get worse,
it means there's no possibility of her going up the mountain.
'It's a five-hour trip to Venezuela and the start point for Roraima.
'At the front of the bus, the other expedition doctor, Henry,
'joins Fi to discuss Chanelle's condition with the leadership team.'
We need to prioritise Chanelle's health.
We've had a fairly graphic warning that something's not right.
'Since the auditions,
'they've been aware how important the expedition is to her.'
-Oh, my gosh!
I want to have excitement in my life,
and I guess no words can explain how much it means to me.
'The tablets ARE helping her swelling go down,
'but the big worry is if she's bitten again
'and her throat swells, stopping her breathing.'
Worst-case scenario, a life-threatening emergency
with a prolonged evacuation time.
We're talking minimum stretcher carry, five hours,
before you reach a helicopter landing site.
'A week into the trip, they've got a tough decision.
'And soon after they arrive in Venezuela,
'Ben and Fi call Chanelle aside.'
Both doctors have been looking at you closely
and we're concerned about your allergic reactions.
It could be an allergy to insects.
If we took you into a remote area and you got bitten,
the next thing that could happen could be life threatening.
That's what we're concerned about, we can't guarantee your safety.
For that reason alone, we can't take you any further.
I'm so, so sorry.
Chanelle, unfortunately, there's no way,
in South America, we can take away the insects,
so the safest thing is take you out of where the insects are.
Unfortunately, that's going to mean going back home.
I'm SO sorry, Chanelle.
I'm SO sorry.
Hey, it's all right!
Chanelle, you're a little star, you really are.
It's one of those awful things,
because it's the last thing we wanted to happen.
There we go. We're going to miss you, every single day.
This was my childhood dream, to do all this.
You've got a lot of life ahead of you,
and we don't want to put that in danger.
-Guys, we've got some sad news.
-She's not going to be able to continue.
-She's going home?
It is, absolutely, the last thing
any of us would have wished for,
but we just can't risk it.
It's going to be really hard without her,
because we've all bonded and became friends.
Now, it's going to break up the group, I think.
Better safe, than sorry. We're going to miss her, so much.
Chanelle's going, I'm really upset.
She was one of my best friends on the whole trip.
OK, guys, last hug!
'Chanelle will be looked after by Dr Henry
'until she's on her way home, while the other seven explorers
'need to focus on the challenge ahead.
'Early tomorrow, they begin the assault on Mount Roraima.'
I, basically, hate it. Going to have to climb this big
Mount Roraima without her.
Nikita's been hit so hard,
and all I can really try and do is encourage her.
Chanelle wouldn't want us to do bad,
so we have to move on.
'The team wake to the spectacle of Mount Roraima,
'16 miles away across the rolling hills of Venezuela.'
Probably the best view I've ever woken up to, mind-blowing!
I've woken with boggly eyes,
then you wake up to this and it opens them wide,
because this is stupendous, one of the most amazing places!
'Whether Raleigh trekked to Roraima or a nearby mountain,
'he never actually managed to get onto the summit.'
'Our guide said there were diamonds and precious stones on it,
'but neither he nor his men ascended, the way up so impassable.'
'Hundreds of years later,
'adventurers found a way to climb Roraima,
'via a treacherous path at a steep angle up the rock-face.
'The explorers have two days to conquer the mountain.
'Today, they've a trek of 12 miles
'to a stopping point called Military Camp.
'Tomorrow, it's a further three-mile-trek to Base Camp,
'followed by a gruelling half-mile
'steep climb to the top.'
You're going to hurt today,
and there'll be times you just want to sit down.
Go to that bit of your brain that says, "I can do this,"
-and push yourself.
-I'm looking forward to...
getting to the top, not the pain!
Today, we're sat here, tomorrow night, we'll be up there,
looking 10,000 feet below.
-I'm speechless, to be honest!
This is where it starts!
Mount Roraima is calling! Up for it?
-Good. Let's enjoy.
'Though early morning, it's nearly 30 degrees,
'and each rucksack weighs 12 kilos,
'the same as a small suitcase.
'They're heading up gentle slopes, but even so,
'most of the team start to flag.'
It's early days, which does NOT bode well!
Megan, you look pooped!
Didn't think I'd be THIS hot!
My breathing was really heavy, I just felt horrible.
We really need to start getting stuck in,
and doing this without the whingeing, girls!
'But as the pace and temperature increase,
'it's Regan himself who has the most extreme reaction to the trekking.'
'His body's having trouble getting used to the heat and exercise.'
-'But Dr Fi and the leaders decide he's OK.'
Nice and steady, all right?
I hope I won't be sick again
and I can carry on with the group, rather than having to stop so often.
'12-year-old Nikita, the youngest girl,
'is also finding the trek tough.'
I miss Chanelle.
She would have encouraged me to go on, and be more positive.
-What would she be saying now?
-She'd tell me to keep going!
Exactly, you've got to do it for her! She would be gutted...
-if you were suffering on her account.
'The route to Roraima means crossing several fast-flowing rivers.'
We can step on the rocks.
Just get a nice, equal balance.
The rocks are slippy.
'The heavy backpacks make it especially tricky,
'and Josh has trouble keeping his feet.'
Don't pull me in!
Quickly as you can.
Take your time.
All right? Sure?
Your pack's so heavy. You just fall back.
That happened me! So, nice and wet! That's one way to get cooled off!
'They've been on the go almost seven hours in the tropical heat,
'and have a demanding uphill trek to reach Military Camp,
'their home for the night.'
My leg's hurting after that sharp incline.
My breathing's really heavy and I'm struggling to control it.
'But it's nothing compared to tomorrow's task.
'And the closer they get to Roraima's sheer rock face,
'the more daunting it looks.'
Hard to believe I'm going to the top,
seriously hard to believe.
It's lovely, but it's going to be a terror to climb.
'At last, in the distance, the orange tents of Military Camp.'
I wish the world was flat! Honestly, I do!
Those orange dots aren't getting any closer.
'Nine hours after they set out,
-'the explorers complete the day's 12-mile hike.'
Brilliant, well done, guys!
Bet you thought it would never end, eh?
Coming up here, it felt like a year. I'm so happy,
I could cry tears of joy!
'Camping round Roraima is controlled, so they must leave the area
'just as they find it. All rubbish must be taken out,
'including their poo.'
What we've got to help us are black bags.
-Is he having a laugh?!
-Double bag it, these are thin.
Oh, that's dirty!
-The only thing that goes in here is solid.
-Urgh! I'm not doing it!
Pop that there, you've got a nice rest,
-and you can squat over, yeah?
-I'm not going!
-We'll collect it on the way down the mountain.
-I can't go!
'Michael volunteers to try it out first.'
Michael here is about to... poo in this bag!
-I need the toilet! Badly!
-He's held it in for...
-Just leave it, a while!
'But he's almost certainly been more recently than Sammie.'
I've not done a poo in eight days,
actually, nine, cos it was the day before I came.
'With Roraima's vertical rockface looming above them,
'thoughts turn to tomorrow's summit attempt.'
It's going to be lots harder than today, and today, I was crying.
It's 10,000 feet high,
and most of it is vertical.
-I was 'aargh' on slopes like that!
-That's going to be very hard, then!
'Summit day. 5:30am.'
Morning, rise and shine!
It's the big day!
-You're going to be on the top, later on.
-YOU will be!
I'll be at the bottom. STILL.
It's going to be twice, if not three times, harder,
but that's not a problem,
because it's all up there. Yeah?
'They face a three-mile trek to Base Camp,
'then a half-mile steep hike up Roraima itself,
'including a scramble up the Ramp to the top.'
Right, let's go!
'It's just after 7am as they begin the epic record attempt.
'But yesterday's long trek has taken its toll.'
-I'm aching everywhere!
-Nikita, think positive.
-It's all up here!
-It's not, I can feel it on my back.
-Let's not think about our backs and shoulders.
But everyone else's are, as well!
'Nikita soon grinds to a complete halt.'
-I can't go on!
We'll maybe take some of the weight out of your pack.
-You think that'll help?
-No, it's just going up hills, I hate it!
-I offered to take something from you. Do you accept or not?
OK, no whingeing, keep going.
'But it's not just Nikita struggling. Sammie is also falling behind.'
-Come on, Sammie! You're not tired!
We can't keep stopping and starting. That will tire you
more than anything.
No pain, no gain!
I'm tired. I feel so achy!
It really doesn't help whingeing!
'Up ahead, the rest of the team are doing rather better.'
Looks like a suitable spot for a little breather.
Sit down, packs off, let's take ten.
'Everyone feels the effect of the 12-kilo packs.'
It's like giving someone a piggy-back the whole way.
'And for Sammie, the strain is becoming too much.'
I don't want to go any further.
I'm never making it to the top of that thing.
-Are you drinking water?
-It tastes like iodine.
That's an obvious no. I don't care if it tastes of iodine.
It's liquid and you need to get it down your throat.
None of these lot have moaned at all about the weight of their bags,
and they're making it harder for themselves, moaning.
'The girls have put the expedition well behind schedule,
'casting doubt on whether they'll be allowed to carry on.'
Let's just, for the next hour, see how... Let's monitor them.
There has to be a choice at base camp, because...
-We'll not make it.
'Sammie and Nikita urgently need to show they've got what it takes.'
Do you really want to do that?
-Hand on heart. I really want to do it now.
-So do I.
If you really want to get to the top, let's see it.
You've got half an hour, 40 minutes, to prove it.
Just need to keep positive.
'With a big decision ahead at base camp,
'Sammie is determined to stay with the group.
'But Nikita just can't seem to keep up.'
I don't know what it is. I can't do it.
-I think you can do it.
'Sammie makes it into base camp with the main team.'
She stayed with it and has shown she wants it.
But Nikita, don't know, she's a long way back.
'And it's nearly half an hour before she finally arrives.'
Base camp. This is where we decide
whether you'll go on, or not.
'If she is allowed to carry on,
'some think she'll threaten the chance of success.'
She were holding us back on half a mile to go.
That really annoys me. You can't just stop and start.
It hurts you.
'But the leaders feel Nikita's more than capable
'of grasping this opportunity, and are ready to give her
'one last chance.'
Only you can decide.
We've lost Chanelle
through circumstances none of us wanted to happen.
We don't want to lose you too,
when what is stopping you is your head, not any other reason.
I'm just going to do it, because...
I would kick myself if I don't go.
'From Base Camp, the trek gets seriously tough.
'But for Megan, failure is not an option.'
# I'm going to get there, yes, I am!
# I'm going to get there, yes, I am Even if it kills me! #
'The steeper it gets, the more Nikita seems to be enjoying it.'
This is a lot better than walking.
'Unfortunately, Sammie's close to breaking point.'
My legs are burning!
It's steep. Everyone's probably hurting.
'Before long, she's holding up the entire expedition.'
Yeah, come on, Sammie.
It hurts, so bad!
Come on, Sammie!
'If she can't move quickly, she'll have to go back down.'
I know your legs hurt and it's difficult to breathe.
But we need to push on. OK?
-Yeah, you can.
-'Michael helps drive her upwards.'
-Get moving, go!
'And he also helps encourage Nikita.'
-Do not let her start moaning!
-Aww, Michael, my feet are hurting!
As soon as she stops, tell her to carry on.
-Look at that.
-Oh, my gosh!
'Six hours in, they reach the sheer rockface of Roraima.'
Look at that!
'It's a stark reminder they still have a punishing
'2,000 feet to the top.
'As they stop for lunch, they see just how far they've come.
I can hardly see where we started from here.
You can see forever!
-Glad you come?
-Really glad I came!
All that moaning from certain people!
Feeling worth it, right about now, the pain.
Hopefully, once we get up, it'll be even better.
I'm buzzing, can't wait to get there!
'They make their way round the mountain towards the notorious
'Ramp, the only route up the rockface to the summit.'
Oh, look how steep that it is!
We're going up that bit?
That's not even steep, that's VERTICAL! How do we get up there?
You've got about 30 to 40 minutes of hard effort.
Head down, and up we go!
'Can the exhausted team rise to this final challenge?'
Good stuff! Well done, Sammie!
Keep going, guys!
It's getting steeper and steeper!
-THAT is the top.
-I thought it was closer.
-It's grit your teeth time.
'With their goal now in sight, everyone summons up
'their last reserves of strength.
'And after eight hours of climbing, ALL the explorers make it.'
It's the finish!
-We've reached the top!
-I'm so happy!
I know you might not be able to see it, but I am!
'They're the youngest team on record to conquer Roraima,
'and have come to where Raleigh could only dream of.'
I can't believe we're here. Amazing!
We're at the top!
-'I had my doubts, I admit,'
but they pulled it off. They did it!
To get up 10,000 feet, it's incredible. I feel really good!
I feel quite ashamed about all my moaning.
I wouldn't give this up for the world.
We're talking best part of 10,000 feet in two days,
carrying a third of their bodyweight. Is it an achievement?
Yeah, it's a big, big thing!
Just before I got to base camp,
I felt I couldn't make it.
I started thinking about Chanelle. She asked me
to do it for her. I did. Now I'm up here, I feel great!
'A top treat for one explorer...'
Happiest kid on the planet right now!
'Tackling a treacherous ravine...'
'And drama down on the ranch.'
Just a bit scary, that's all.
The twelve-to-fourteen-year-old adventurers take on Mount Roraima, one of the natural wonders of the world. Rising more than nine thousand feet vertically out of the rainforest, Roraima is a unique triangular table top mountain.
Before the climb, the expedition leaders face a difficult decision on the participation of Chanelle, who is having a serious allergic reaction to insect bites. The two day climb proves extremely tough, with several team members struggling badly. If they make it, they will be the youngest team on record to stand on the top.