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Duke of Edinburgh (DofE)

The Easter holiday is always a busy time for D of E expeditions. This holiday saw four of the Silver groups complete their qualifying expedition in the Peak District, while one group did their practice expedition at the same time. The following week it was the turn of the Gold groups to complete their practice expedition in the Yorkshire Dales.

Straight after Easter, the five Silver groups gathered for a full kit check before heading out to various start points around Winster, Biggin and Hartington in the south of the Peak District. Over the three days, they trekked generally northwards, camping overnight in a variety of locations before completing the route at Ladybower reservoir. The weather was dry for almost the whole time and with some clear skies overnight, temperatures plummeted and the pupils awoke on both mornings with frosted tents. It was certainly cold when getting started each morning. Overall, the groups showed good expedition skills, accurate navigation and a lot of determination in finishing the route.

The twenty-five Year 12 Gold expedition students experienced somewhat wilder conditions during their time in the Yorkshire Dales. Plans were adjusted according to conditions and some dire forecasts of heavy snow on the mountains overnight. In the challenging conditions, the groups had to ensure their skills were as good as they can be. This was very noticeable in the campsites where the whole process of setting up and dismantling tents, organising equipment and cooking, improved remarkable over the three nights. Out on the ground, valuable practice was had in navigating, working as a group and coping with some wild, windy, wet and hailing conditions. At the final campsite in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, it rained almost all night. Combined with specific mountain forecasts of heavy snow on the mountain summits, the decision was taken early to cancel the last day’s trek. Frustratingly, as the group broke camp, the sun peeped through and the mountain summits came into view with not a speck of white on them! Still, the groups had performed well in tough conditions and sufficient practice had been achieved. These Gold groups are now preparing for their Qualifying Expedition in the North York Moors on 26th – 30th June.

Mr Shuttleworth, Co-ordinator of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award & Expeditions comments: “It was a feature of these two ventures that the pupils were enthusiastic and determined to enjoy the experience. It made accompanying them a pleasure for the staff who had volunteered. Many thanks to the six Trent staff who came out to assist in supervising the Silver expeditions and also to the five who travelled to the Yorkshire Dales. Staff enthusiasm, determination, care, thoroughness and humour also contributed massively to the success and enjoyment of these expeditions.”

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