Half Term D of E Expedition
St Benedict's Silver practice expeditioners in Year 10 were undeterred by torrential rain and a punishing cold snap at half term. They developed their teamwork, navigation and camping skills at Bentley Copse.
Natalia McFadzean and Sophia Sandelson describe the trials and tribulations of their latest D of E expedition:
Our Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition at half term helped us to develop our navigation and map-reading skills, and enhanced our ability to camp out in the field and work as a team. The three- day walking trip was a big success, preparing us for the qualifying expedition later in the year. On the first night we cooked our dinner, put up our tents and planned our route for the days ahead. We started on Saturday morning, quite well rested, despite the uninvited visitor who decided to snack on our food! (Who knew there were badgers in Guildford?) We received our routes and, in groups of six, left the camp to start our seven-hour trek, lugging our bulky rucksacks on our backs.
The evening was a battle with the elements: putting up a tent while the rain is constantly working against you is an achievement."
Navigation was very much like the weather; it started crystal clear and, by the afternoon, all the water in the skies came crashing down. Our group got very, really lost – BUT, spirits stayed high and despite everything being soaked through we pursued our journey, longing to be dry in our tents. The evening was a battle with the elements: putting up a tent while the rain is constantly working against you is an achievement. However, we definitely got a good night’s rest as the badgers seemed content with the previous day’s meal.
The whole group’s map reading and navigation skills definitely improved as we became more comfortable giving directions and using a compass to get to our next destination."
Sunday was much more successful. The sun was encouraging us on as we completed the last stretch of our trip. The scenery was stunning, and we got to meet a few happy cows on our route! The whole group’s map reading and navigation skills definitely improved as we became more comfortable giving directions and using a compass to get to our next destination.
Therefore, the expedition was a success and a much-needed learning curve for our D of E qualification. The groups are now able to be independent and self-sufficient in a challenging outdoor environment. We all really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to do even better next time (hopefully excluding any major detours)!