DofE Gold Pre-Practice Expedition Shropshire/Welsh Borders

Bright and early on Saturday morning, 14 students and 5 staff left school at 7am to head off to Wales to commence their initial training expedition. Enroute to Wales come students thought that they were in Italy, not down to the fact they travelled through beautiful mountains that you could have been mistaken for the Alps, but due to the fact that our radio channel cut out in the minibus and was replaced by BBC Cymru – with student mistakenly believing that people were talking Italian on air!!

The students started walking by 9.30 in the rain but this didn’t dampen their attitude and both groups made an impressive start to their navigating. During the first day the students were taught in the art of using a compass to find their direction of travel and also to locate where they are given features from the landscape.

By the time the groups got back to camp, some students ended up erecting their tents as the sun was setting whilst all cooked in the dark. Remarkably, the food was fairly edible too.

Overnight was cold with students (and staff) waking up to a somewhat frosty campsite, but this didn’t deter the students who were up, packed away and walking within a couple of hours despite losing an hours overnight. On this day the students were given a bit more freedom to work on their bearings and also pacing – in the main, students did very well, even getting back to camp whilst still light and able to setup camp and cook before sunset.

On the last day, both groups were allowed to walk on their own, making decisions and navigating without the support of staff who tracked them remotely.

Considering their lack of experience before the expedition I was blown away by their efforts and determination.

Well done to the team and of course the staff (Miss Browne, Mr Saunderson, Miss Sims and Mr Trafford) that supported the expedition.

Alex Flood
Head of Sixth Form

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