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A Golden Achievement

Duke of Edinburgh (DofE)

On Sunday 26th June, twenty seven students travelled to the North York Moors to tackle the challenge of the Gold DofE Qualifying Expedition.  

This venture requires the groups to trek about 80kms carrying all their kit over four days and to camp for three nights. Starting in Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast, the routes took the groups past Goathland and Grosmont, Hutton-le-Hole, Rosedale, Bransdale and finally to the finish in Helmsley.  On the way, they crossed moorland and dales following the plans they had made during the preceding months”.

Peter Shuttleworth, Co-ordinator of DofE Award and Expeditions writes “Monday dawned fine and dry, an excellent way to start the trek. Each group was supervised by a member of staff and there were two local assessors to judge the way the groups operated. Day One was completed without too much drama, despite the occasional navigational error.  Tuesday saw the groups set off at about 0800 on their routes, with a certain need to get as much done before the weather worsened. And it certainly worsened, with heavy and persistent rain all afternoon and into the evening, making the whole process of navigating and walking much more challenging. There were some extended days for the groups, in some cases over 11 hours! However, eventually everyone was set up in camps, eating hot food and resting in preparation for Day Three”.

“Wednesday again started wet and the rain got harder through the day.  By now there was a stoic acceptance among the groups that they just had to get on with it in the rain, but there was at least the prospect of brighter conditions forecast for the evening.  Sure enough, after a final downpour, the clouds started to clear and the sun came out as the groups set up their final camps in Bransdale or near Hawnby.  These proved to be the best sites of the trip, isolated and away from the others. As usual for the final day, the groups set off to complete the eight hour trek at about 0600hrs and when the supervisors met them, they were in good spirits in the beautiful sunny dawn conditions. All proceeded right on track to the finish at Helmsley where they were quickly debriefed so that they could pop into the town to buy some food as a reward for completing”.

Congratulations to all the students involved.  It was one of the most positive, reliable and good-humoured groups we have taken out on expedition and they all proved their resilience in some tough conditions. The Gold Expedition is an attainable challenge that still leaves the participants with a great feeling of satisfaction at what they have achieved. Thanks must also go to the splendid team of supervisors and outside assessors, all of whom acted in an encouraging, caring and thorough manner to support the groups through their ventures.

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