On the last weekend of half term more than 70 students braved the Beast of Bodmin moor to participate in the Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training.
The routes this year were somewhat changed owing to the continued roadworks on the A30, so the 5 Gold groups needed to start from the bridge across the A30 at Shallow Water Common while the 8 Silver groups emerged from their coach just above St Breward. All groups walked between 5-8km arriving into South Penquite Campsite just after dark. After a good meal cooked on Trangia stoves the groups got their heads down relatively early in anticipation of a big walk the following day.
On Friday 4th we were joined by a team of 16 adults who very kindly gave up their day to help train the participants. During the day each expedition group was assigned to an adult who took the group through their paces on the moor; putting into practise what they had learned during training in school a few weeks ago. Participants developed their navigation skills such as taking bearings, pacing distances, aiming off features and finding attack points. Hopefully during the day every student was able to improve their skills and become more confident in their own abilities to navigate themselves and their groups using a compass and map across the moor.
The final day of the expedition allowed the students to show us what they had learned. Each group was sent off on their own with a pre-prepared route through the North of Bodmin moor whilst being check pointed by staff along the way. The Silver groups walked approximately 16-18km whilst the Golds completed 18-20km; similar to what will be expected on their upcoming expeditions. The weather was worse than forecasted with cold scattered showers and even a hail storm to end the day. Even though this was unpleasant at times, hopefully this helped the participants understand what conditions they may come across in future and ensure that they are fully prepared to endure.
A huge thank you must firstly go to all the 70 participants who were fantastic throughout the weekend. This training expedition, however, would never be able to happen without the huge support of all the staff and volunteers who willingly give up their time during half term to help train and support the young participants. Thank you again to all who came along and made this such a successful expedition.