The weekend of 20 March saw our first Gold and Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition along with the 9th Ten Tors training weekend. With over 80 students travelling up to the moor, the organisation and planning that went into the expedition was nothing short of a military mission.
The weather was glorious; which is very unlike typical DofE weekends, and even though the nights were cold the skies were clear and the visibility was excellent. The expedition took on two parts with the silver participants navigating through lower level walks along the fringes of the moor, whereas the gold participants delved into the middle of the relatively featureless southern moor.
All the groups behaved superbly, as expected, and took on the challenges of the expedition with dogged determination. The expedition took place over three days and two nights with the silver groups walking in excess of 16km each day and the gold groups over 20km each day. The groups needed to work together to navigate over tough terrain, whilst being self-sufficient and only remotely supervised by adults when the terrain became more tricky or dangerous.
I think for many of the participants the satisfaction of the expedition comes at the end with the bus ride home – sore feeted, red faced and with the thought of a hot bath, a good meal and their own bed awaiting them. It was fantastic that the Headmaster joined us on Dartmoor on Saturday and was able to see many of the silver participants through their checkpoints. A huge thank you must go to all the staff and parent helpers who gave up their time over the weekend to facilitate the running of the expedition and ensure the safety of all the participants – without their help these expeditions would not be able to take place.
The next gold practice expedition is on the 24 and 26 April while the silver qualifying expedition is 26 and 29 June.