Last weekend, the Year 10 Silver DofE group went to the Peak District for their Assessed Expedition. The three day Expedition involves finding their way around using only a map and compass, sleeping in tents, a lot of walking and learning more about each other.
After a four hour drive, the girls arrived in darkness on Friday evening and pitched their tents for their first night. After a hot breakfast cooked on the trangias, they set off for day one of hiking. The seven hour minimum hiking time soon turned into ten when one group ended up getting lost in an enormous valley - the view at the end though was definitely worth the journey up!
The groups walked up and down hills, through fields with animals and on the third day it was so misty they could not see more than 25 metres in front of them. They walked through sun, fog, bogs, and bull fields, cooked breakfast and dinner, set up and took down tents every day, carried everything they needed on their backs the whole time, laughed lots and did many a wild wee. Even though walking 35 kilometres with 14 kilograms on your back is hard, as one member said, it was all worth it for the sense of achievement and pride felt at the end.
The girls also had to set and complete a collective goal for them to achieve during the Expedition. One group had a bingo card with many different things to find such as birds, bugs, trees and plants. Unexpectedly they also saw emus and llamas and two rare birds.
The Expedition groups especially enjoyed their hilarious encounters with a flock sheep who wanted to steal their lunch, some mildly aggressive cows who did not want them to walk through their field and one pupil unfortunately fell on their face in the mud!
Throughout the journey they bonded with each other - whether through running away from fields full of cows or their collective confusion when they ended up on top of a hill in the complete opposite direction from the campsite. The Silver DofE Expedition overall was such an amazingly unique experience for the girls and, whilst they were all without doubt happy to be home and back to civilisation, many of them are considering Gold DofE in Lower Sixth. They could not have had such a great time though without the teachers who worked so hard to make sure they were safe and everything ran smoothly - the girls are all so grateful for their time and effort.
The Year 10 Silver DofE groups would definitely recommend Silver DofE to any current Year 9s.