On Friday July 3rd 24 of our intrepid students departed from the calm of School and made their way to the Lake District to undertake their qualifying expedition. This is the culmination of months of training and practice and is the final part of the expedition section of the Gold Programme.
After pitching their tents they went into Keswick for the evening meal which has become known as “The last supper”. A good night’s sleep was followed by breakfast and packing for the start of the expedition. A briefing by their assessors and it was time to set off. The major difference between this and the practice expedition is that the students have no contact with the supervisors; they are supervised remotely.
Day one started in the rain but it cleared up as the day wore on and they all made it to the camp safely. Day two was the other way round, a sunny morning with rain in the afternoon. All the groups made excellent progress, clearly their teamwork was paying off as the miles were ticked off. Then comes the dreaded day three, noted for being the longest day’s walking and the steep climb onto Helvellyn. The teams used a different campsite this year and this made a huge difference, the teams reached the summit of Helvellyn much earlier than in previous years and this made for a much more manageable day’s walking.
Day four and the end is in sight. The teams packed away for the last time and made their way to Pooley Bridge which is the finishing point. Mid afternoon and the teams start to arrive. With emotions varying from relief to bliss coupled with a well deserved sense of achievement they all finished. A quick word from their assessor, who was very impressed by the way, and it was all over. After ice creams it was all aboard the minibuses for the trip back to Caistor and family reunions.
All of our students performed marvellously and were a credit to the School. Well done to them all.
Gold DofE photos can be seen here.