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Gold DofE - Clun (1st – 3rd July 2016)

On Friday 1st July, the largest ever Gold DofE Expedition took place on the Welsh border between Knighton and Clun. Four willing groups headed out to the start point in Wales with Mr Saunderson, Mr Stacey, Mr Robinson, Mr Taylor and Mr Baker and spent the next 8-10 hours making their way back over the Welsh border and to the campsite in the southern Shropshire hills.

The first day was one of little sunshine and with sporadic heavy bursts of rain – I’m glad most of us packed a waterproof!! The groups covered basic compass work, identifying features from the map to land and walking to bearings. On arriving back to camp the students were greeted with the arrival of Miss Tinsley and then set about erecting their tents – it’s amazing how two same tents can be erected in a different (stealth/ground hugging) style. As the sunset the students then embarked upon their evening meal, with some interesting meals that included chorizo.

On Saturday the groups woke early at 7am to make breakfast and by 9 they were set the task of exploring micro-navigation. The groups using the compasses were set the challenge of walking to 3 bearings over three different distances to try and return to their starting point. The students rose to this challenge and most were successful, even those that stumbled across tents, walked into trees or attempted to walk on water came away having learnt how valuable pacing and compass work can be.

Following their early morning exercise, the group set off again for another long day of training to embed these new-found skills. The weather was much more accommodating with more sun and fewer showers to the relief of the expeditionists. Each group was led by a new member of staff to share their wisdom and it was impressive to see how students learnt from the earlier session and were able to navigate, with some precision, through an overgrown wood. After another successful day the students returned to setting up their trangias and making some wonderful cuisine, with most students hitting the sack before 10, tired from their exertions during the day.

The students rose bright and early on their last day and after breaking camp, were underway by 9am to tackle their route on their own without staff walking with them. To our delight each group rose to the challenge and made their way along the routes with very few errors in their navigation.

Congratulations to all students who took part in this expedition and also to the staff who gave up their time and energy to make this expedition such a success – many thanks for all you have done.

Mr Flood
DofE Manager