The Duke Of Edinburgh Award Expeditions do not stop for the holidays, indeed it was during the summer holiday that the Gold walking Expedition and the Gold canoeing Expedition were ran.
The walkers had planned their expedition in the Brecon Beacons, and followed DofE Co-ordinator, Mrs Georgina Brocklehurst's wish that they would camp wild for at least one of the nights. This means absolutely no facilities. These are the best sorts of campsite as you can appreciate the environment the most. Well the girls took Mrs Brocklehurst at her word, and booked not just one wild site, but all four.
Expedition day one involved enjoying walking past waterfalls and spying playful otters, before heading uphill onto open land. The sun was incredibly hot, so hats, water filtration bottles and special cool towels all helped to fend off sunstroke / heat exhaustion.
As day two was to be another baking hot day, the Expedition leader and Mrs Brocklehurst agreed the girls should set off early and head off the peaks onto lower land to avoid being subjected to too much sun. The girls' navigation and timekeeping were excellent, and they were great at motivating each other to maintain good spirits and a good pace.
They loved their next camp, which despite the landowner's warning, was not busy and in fact nobody else was there. This grassy little camp headed down to a nice almost beach-like area as it reached the stream (this was at the start of the summer, before the drought!). Again, they set off bright and early the next morning to conquer some of the big hills – Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn, Fan y Big, before heading down to camp in a farming field. One of the group had collected a large number of insect bites on her legs, but even this could not dull her enjoyment. They were a fantastic group needing very little support.
The final day was back up hill, perhaps not as steep as the previous day, and the sky was sometimes overcast. Blisters were, by this time, taking their toll on some feet so it was with some relief that they reached their final destination.
After refreshing themselves with drinks and ice cream, and being able to use a proper toilet for the first time in five days, they set off home thinking we will be there by early evening. However things do not always go to plan, and on the way the minibus had a puncture. The group could not have chosen a nicer place to have a puncture. The girls were escorted over a stile into a nice shaded area under a tree by a stream. Fortunately Mrs Brocklehurst happened to have watermelon on hand which they soon tucked into whilst she dealt with emergency services. Never a moan was heard - with the positive attitudes these girls have they will go far. There was a tinge of regret that they have now completed their Expedition so what could they do next? Hopefully they will go on to do mountain leader training - they would enjoy it. We are looking forward to them completing their Awards and collecting their certificates and badges from Buckingham Palace.