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DofE Bronze Qualifying Expedition Success

DofE Bronze Qualifying Expedition Success

With the training weekend and practice expedition completed, this year’s Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students embarked on their final, qualifying expedition at the weekend, with a mixture of nerves and determination.

The expedition took place in the beautiful Chilterns countryside between Lane End and Watlington, with an overnight camp in the picturesque village of Hambleden.

Saturday morning started grey, wet and chilly. However, the dreary weather soon passed and the students were soon enjoying bright sunshine, with a refreshing breeze: perfect walking weather. Once they had distributed the group kit between their team members, the expedition leaders made sure that all participants were packed and ready for the journey ahead, confident with their navigating skills and familiar with the route they had planned with their team. One by one the groups boldly embarked on their six hour trek to the ‘campsite’.

Their journeys were challenging, yet enjoyable. There were a few ‘navigational challenges’ en route (aka getting lost!), however group by group, the weary travellers arrived tired and relieved at the campsite. The ‘campsite’ consisted of a field, containing two portaloos and one tap. Unfazed by the lack of luxury, the students threw off their heavy rucksacks, flopped down on to the grass, removed their boots and sweaty socks and had a well-deserved rest before putting up their tents and cooking their dinners.

When all the tents were up and all the exhausted travellers had eaten (mainly pasta or noodles), everyone could relax in preparation for day two. The atmosphere in camp was cheerful and pleasant. With no mobile phones permitted over the weekend, it was pleasing to see the students organising their own entertainment, happily chatting and playing games with surprising levels of energy after their challenging day.

After a mainly quiet and fairly restful night, the campers one by one emerged sleepily from their tents. The sun was shining and the mood in camp was peaceful. Despite having a long and demanding day ahead of them, the students were all in good spirits as they made their breakfast and packed their tents and kit into rucksacks. After a last check of their maps, the groups set off on the homeward leg of their expedition.

Their journeys were arduous and they encountered hills, valleys, yet more ‘navigational challenges’ and cows! Despite this, they maintained a positive attitude and morale remained high. They embraced the demands of the hike and all completed their expeditions smiling and relieved.

A big well done to all of this year’s Bronze participants for showing such strength and fantastic team spirit. The feedback from the expedition leaders and assessors has been great. They described this year’s Bronze cohort as “a delight to work with”. All members of school staff who volunteered their time over the expedition weekend agree. The sensible, mature way the students conducted themselves throughout the weekend, along with their positive attitude and enthusiasm made the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.

I look forward to seeing you all next year for Silver!

Miss Murray

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