Over the weekend of 26-27 June, our Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh students took on the challenge of either their practice or qualifying expeditions.
After an early start and packing the group equipment into their bags, they were all set to go. The Bronze students climbed into the minibuses to be taken to their starting points while the Silver groups set off on foot.
These intrepid hikers started with great enthusiasm, keen to learn new skills. The groups quickly found that communication was the key to success and that they would all have to work together to complete the expedition. What’s more, it was wonderful to see so many new friendships being formed along the way. Students’ navigational skills had improved exponentially by the end of the first day and many of the Bronze teams had successfully managed to work their way through some very tricky sections of the route.
Back at basecamp, the nine teams set up their tents on the school grounds in bubbles and were eager to get cooking after a long day’s walking. All members of each group contributed to the successful cooking of their pre-planned meals, and there were even some delicious-looking deserts on offer around the site! Tired but happy, the students settled down to sleep, recharging their batteries ready for the following day’s second hike.
After getting up at 6am, having breakfast and packing up their camp, the second day proved to be a real challenge for many of our brave hikers. Although their navigational skills had improved and students were meeting their checkpoints on time, the second day saw many teams having to dig deep for motivation. With a new focus on morale and team spirit, there was a lot of singing to be heard along the public footpaths and bridleways around West Dorset that day!
After triumphantly overcoming the trials and challenges of the two-day expedition, walking into the School grounds to a hearty round of applause from the crowd of parents and staff gathered in front of Leweston Manor was enormously uplifting for the students.
We are all so proud of the effort and commitment that the students put into the weekend, and they too should be very proud of their accomplishments. Ms Haynes would like to thank Dorset Council and the Leweston staff for their support and for giving up their time over the weekend to ensure our DofE groups completed their expeditions safely and successfully.
Well done to all the Bronze teams who successfully qualified. We now look forward to taking the Silver participants to the New Forest in September for their final expedition.