Duke Of Edinburgh Award Report
What a great summer we had, with three very successful expeditions!
Silver Assessed Expedition, White Peaks
As soon as term finished, the Silver girls headed to the Peak District for their assessed expedition. The teams spent 3 days and 2 nights in the Buxton area hiking 50kms, where they experienced the unpredictability of weather in the mountains. Added to the challenges of the weather, were the mountain ascents and remote locations. The girls all performed fabulously and were in great spirits throughout.
The start of the third day looked promising as they descended to Errwood reservoir but, as the teams started across Shining Tor, the rain returned. It didn’t dampen spirits though.
They all performed fabulously, showed great strength of character and passed their qualifying expedition easily. Well done Silver 2016. We are very proud of you.
Gold Practice Expedition, Dark Peaks
DofE rules state that participants must be 16 so the expedition was delayed for Anjali Doshi’s 16th birthday which she spent hiking in the Peak District.
Gold is a step up from Silver with longer routes, more challenging terrain and more remote campsites but all the girls, having been warned of this, were up for the challenge.
Their routes took them through the stunning scenery surrounding Ladybower Reservoir and Derwent Reservoir which were used during the Second World War by the pilots of the 617 Squadron for practising the low level flights needed for the Dambusters raid.
Campsites were remote…..
Shelter was found to cook!
The penultimate day of the practice expedition entailed a hard climb up to Kinder Scout and descent down Jacob’s Ladder. It started to rain just as the girls arrived in camp but, with the end of the expedition in sight, nothing could dampen their spirits and there was dancing in camp.
Gold Assessed Expedition, Brecon Beacons
After 5 days rest, we set off for the Brecon Beacons where the girls’ navigation skills were thoroughly tested. They enjoyed 3 days of sunny weather and great views.
However, on the morning of the fourth day for their ascent of Pen Y Fan, the weather changed and visibility was down to around 10 metres.
Undaunted, the girls were all under way by 7am. The end was in sight.
They climbed the 886m to the top of Pen Y Fan. Of course there were adventures along the way but they were all very proud to have their photos taken at the top.
At the end of the expedition, team Gold 7 could hear the shouts of joy and encouragement coming from Six Chicks in the car park and they were so delighted to be close to the finish that they ran, with fully laden rucksacks, into the car park to reunite with their friends and celebrate.
It was a fantastic scene.
They were all, very deservedly, delighted with themselves. Gold is a hard expedition. The girls were challenged physically, mentally and team-wise but they all completed it very well indeed, learning lots about themselves along the way.
During final debriefs they stated individually what they had learnt from the experience and statements included “self-belief”, “I feel I am capable of doing anything now”, “not to give up but keep going”, “the importance of teamwork in keeping morale high”, ”more of a challenge mentally than physically – you have to believe in yourself”, “the key is to be positive”, “completion is more about mental attitude than physical fitness”.
Although I do not believe they are planning on returning to the Brecon Beacons for a long time, they learnt so many lessons which they have been encouraged to remember and to apply to situations later in life.
As always, a huge thank you to parents of all participants for all the work done behind the scenes, supporting the girls’ preparations, helping organise their equipment and food, dropping them at the crack of dawn for expedition departure, being ready to pick them up with their favourite dinner and a tank of hot water on their return and, in the case of one lucky participant, organising a massage for her tired shoulders. On return from expedition, home comforts are greatly appreciated. Thank you very much parents.
Huge congratulations to the following participants who achieved their awards over the summer break:
Lisa Marie Thom, Riya Patel, Julie Knight, Ashveini Jeyabalan
Apitha Sathiyanathan, Maya Jandu, Ritika Roy Chowdhury, Nishanthy Ravichandran, Simran Gill, Shruti Gorsia
Bansri Soni, Isabel Heredia, Anokhi Patel, Aishwarya Shah, Rhea Vaughan-Parry, Jemma Tait, Catherine Smith, Maleeka Pandya, Sushma Nepal