Students return from Gold DofE practice expedition
Last Friday, (8th April) 2 groups of students embarked upon three days of hiking and wild camping in preparation for the Expedition Section of the prestigious Duke Of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Group 1: Jack Betts, William Buller, Tom Lloyd Mead, Matthew Walsh, Michael Wright.
Group 2 (Team Mountain Goats): Rosie Alder, Jacob Bruchez, Tilly Galway (BSG), Lucy Knott, Jake O’neill, Luke Somerville-Ford, Ethan Townsend, Harrison Townsend.
The groups gathered early Friday morning at the school, carrying rucksacks holding all the clothes and food they would require for the weekend. They were greeted by their instructors: Mark and David from Mountain Ash Expeditions and given their group equipment (tents, maps and stoves). After a quick briefing, they set off on the long 3-hour drive to Princetown in Dartmoor where the expedition would both start and end. That afternoon, the group walked around 6 km to, up and down Great Mis Tor where they found their camp-site for the first night.
The next morning, the walkers woke to cold, damp weather. The day was spent walking 8km without supervision, taking turns with the map and leading navigation. Throughout the day, the groups maintained morale by singing songs – even in snow and hail. After a long day of hiking, “tired” was the buzz word on Saturday’s camp-site. Due to extreme weather, participants were disappointed to forgo the planned night navigation. Night navigation is a technique by which walkers hone their navigational skills without relying on visible references – it is particularly useful for hiking on Dartmoor where visibility is often severely affected by fog or in Saturday’s case snow.
Sunday provided a chance for participants to practice what they had learnt as they walked all morning without aid from the instructors to arrive back at Princetown around 13:00-14:00. The instructors then gave a debriefing and congratulated students for their efforts. Finally, came the chance to shower and change into comfortable, clean clothes – ready for the journey home.