On Thursday 6 October, seven staff members and 39 girls went to the Peak District for the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition. Leaving after school on Thursday meant pitching tents in the dark, and a brisk wind had built up by the time they had arrived at the campsite, late in the evening and in the dark; the torches they all had prepared really came into their own.
Friday dawned breezy and overcast; the girls packed their kit and travelled to tvheir three separate start locations and set off on a circular walk with leaders training on navigation skills. Despite the forecast being for ‘showers’, as the day progressed the heavens opened and rain set in. The girls were soaked, and some groups really had to put their incident management and first aid training to the test. We are so proud of how the girls responded calmly, effectively and compassionately to those group members who experienced difficulties and therefore had to unfortunately leave the Expedition. Setting up camp and eating a hot meal as the weather cleared helped with morale, although discovering just how waterproof (or not) coats and bags were was a challenging experience for a number of girls, and they needed to dig deep into their reserves to stay positive.
Despite these setbacks, a reasonable night's sleep was had, and Saturday morning arrived, drizzly and damp, ready for a walk to another campsite. ‘Leapfrogging’ practice helped build confidence that the groups could navigate in the low cloud, and they set off with purpose. The skies cleared, the clouds lifted and the afternoon brought some stunning views, particularly for the girls who pushed on to summit Shining Tor in the late afternoon. Ella (10ω) reflected "We were blessed with gorgeous sunny skies and incredible views from high above. We had a fabulous view running from one side of a valley to the other." The night was much more settled and morale was higher, looking forward to the final day.
Sunday was another clear day, with groups travelling towards The Roaches above Gradbach, in Macclesfield Forest and again up Shining Tor. Great scenes of achievement were seen from the girls as they completed what was undoubtedly a tough weekend, a big step up from Bronze, and a real challenge.
Katie (10B) commented, "Although we faced difficult conditions with miserable weather and tough terrains, we enjoyed our Silver Expedition. We faced many challenges but conquered them as a team and we are all proud of what we accomplished."