40 L6 Gold participants completed a navigation exercise on Leith Hill on Friday night. The six groups set off confidently, navigating to 8 check points in the forest where they removed markers to show they had completed each location. They were especially efficient and successful groups and, from this snapshot activity, things bode well for the Gold expeditions next year. Well done all!
85 5th year students trekked off in 14 groups across the South Downs, catching the train to Lewes, hiking for 3 days and then getting the train out from Arundel. For the most part this route is not navigationally challenging but the hike presented groups with plenty of hills and some long distances on breezy ridges, and hopefully gave some a taste of why people like to hike even when not earning an award for it! Weather was dry but chilly in the northerly wind especially if groups stopped in exposed places. Every group performed well, supporting each other and working increasingly independently as the hike progressed. Staff think this year group has been a special pleasure to work with, always polite and positive and spirited despite the challenges. Well done all.
85 Silver dofe students enjoyed a multi-activity day at Tilgate Park, Crawley for a team building challenge to hone up their skills of independence prior to the expedition next week. They enjoyed a day of canoeing, raft building, mountain biking and orienteering. Many thanks to Dynamic Adventures for running another successful day and to the supervising staff.
Over 100 students trekked off for their two day Bronze qualifying expedition 9-10 October in fine settled weather with misty damp autumn mornings. Most groups performed very well in expedition skills. Groups met the standards required in navigation and camp craft and, where they met difficulties they mostly fixed these independently. In particular, assessing staff were pleased with teams LEAVING NO TRACE at their camp. As is usual, navigation skills varied somewhat but we could see an effort to improve in groups lacking natural navigators. A willingness to improve and persevere with expedition skills is important for those going on to silver. Remember that DofE expeditions are not a race and that safe, considerate and purposeful travel across the countryside is the priority, not raw speed. Visiting every single check point is critical to safe travel, as is communication with your assessor if something goes wrong. Groups arrived at the end between 10am and 2pm, which is usual. It was heartening that many found the time to say thank you to their assessors and supervisors who had looked after them and camped out too. Well done all!
30 L6 students completed their Gold qualifying expedition in Mid Wales. The weather was excellent and even the midges were tolerable. Groups performed well and were a delight to assist and supervise. Assessors were pleased with their progress and happy to pass all groups. Well done! Don’t forget to complete your reports and upload them to your edofe pages.
L6 Gold training expedition to South Wales: July 4-7. South Wales western Brecons. 5 groups practiced navigation techniques and backpacked across the Brecon ridge to return to Dan Yr Ogof. Weather was cool and a thunderstorm kept groups lower down and off the ridge on July 5. After issues with kit (some bringing insufficient cold weather gear after a hot spell in the SE), groups coped well with the varying conditions. Groups need to thoroughly prepare for their qualifying venture in August ensuring all their kit is properly organised and they are ready for the challenge. Check training pages on this blog.
4th Years completed their 3 day Silver training expedition 28-30 June. Conditions warmed up through the 3 days as 14 groups trekked across the North Downs and thence across the Surrey Hills. Groups improved their navigation and camp craft and staff were pleased with their positive approach throughout. Well done!