What a great weekend we chose to venture on our Duke of Edinburgh trial expedition out in the Ribble Valley, towards the Forest of Bowland. The weather was superb and the scenery spectacular.
We set off on Friday morning with our 15 intrepid explorers, all keen and eager to get to Stoneygate campsite. On arrival their jobs were to erect their tents, fill their rucksacks, prepare and eat their lunch and get into the 3 walking groups ready for an afternoon of hiking. During this circular route we worked independently to the other groups and each member of the walking group took a turn in reading the map and navigating a stretch of their route. It was warm and thirsty work in mostly open terrain, through field and up hills. The group I walked with were great and had a tough 8 mile navigation. But they remained ever optimistic, they took their time and worked cooperatively to get back to the campsite at 5.30 p.m. Mr. Wells had walked with another group and said they too were very confident and competent.
Each group then had the task of feeding themselves using a stove and gas can! There were some interesting menus … but I was very impressed by an efficient meal time and everyone playing their part in cooking, boiling and cleaning up afterwards.
Walk and food over, some down time was of the order. Relaxation, chatting and the compulsory sleeping bag sack races!
All were settled in their tents by 11 p.m.
An early start, after a warm night in a tent. The pupils had to dismantle their tents, cook and prepare breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, pack rucksacks and set off on a linear walk. It was a very warm day, so some routes through shaded woods were very welcome. Today I managed to walk with the 2 other groups. They were highly motivated and kept cheerful through some tricky navigation. Our lunch stop by the river and a beautiful suspension bridge was just the ticket. Our final destination in a village some 6 miles from the start gave an end to this trial expedition. Our young people really were great and a pleasure to be away with. They learned a great deal about themselves, about independence, about map reading, about commitment, about teamwork and cooperation – all valuable skills in the tapestry of life. Best of all they can look forward to doing it all again soon when they complete their final qualifying expedition to conclude this area of the Duke of Edinburgh award.
On a plus side, I have never driven such a quiet minibus home! All slept apart from 2 ….. Bliss!