DUKE OF EDINBURGH BRONZE AWARD SUCCESSFUL EXPEDITION
CONGRATULATIONS… Every participant taking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Qualifying Expedition last weekend… PASSED!
With temperatures reaching 30+ degrees, it was always going to be a tough challenge for the students to complete their expedition. However, everyone turned up to school bright and early Saturday morning, so we could be at our grid reference start point, in Whitstable, for 9 am.
Once the assessor had given both teams their brief of the weekend and kitted them up with their trangia, tents and water it was time to set off at 11 am. Both teams had mapped their route to take them south, through Canterbury to reach Mystole Campsite. It was our (Miss Massey and myself) duty to make sure teams were on route to reach their checkpoints on time throughout the day and make sure they had plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
With everyone setting off in high spirits, their objective was to reach their lunch checkpoint by 2 pm. Team 1 arrived twenty minutes late and Team 3 were nowhere to be seen for two hours. Team 1 looked very hot and bothered, so it was a welcome break for them to enjoy their lunch in the shade, under the high, green trees in the beautiful countryside that Kent has to offer. Once we had tracked Team 3, they were 2 km off route, but they were able to get back on their route by using their compass, along with their map reading skills.
It was 6 pm when Team 1 arrived at camp, and they did not waste anytime setting their tents up and cooking dinner. A little downtime was welcomed, and with Mr Williams turning up to provide some entertainment (Frisbee), Team 1 made the most of the opportunity. As time passed, it was 8.30 pm before Team 3 turned up at camp, exhausted, from a long day journeying in the heat. It was vital Team 3 had the opportunity for some downtime too, so they merged with Team 1, while setting up their tents and cooking dinner, before they enjoyed an hour of conversation and laughter.
Sunday morning, 6 am, sun shining, birds singing, it was time to wake both teams up for their second day. With everyone up, dismantling their tents and making breakfast, it was 7.30 am by the time both teams set off for their second day. Both routes consisted of both teams travelling south to their end grid reference in Ashford.
A similar time was set for both teams to reach their midday checkpoint by 12 noon, and Team 3 were the group who were able to achieve this. Somehow, Team 1 had ended up nearly 4 km off route and two hours behind their estimated arrival time. Finally, when Team 3 hit their lunch checkpoint it was 2 pm. With only 4 km remaining on their route, until they reached their final destination, I personally think this was the only positive keeping the group going, as they looked tired, fed up and exhausted in the heat.
Watching Team 3 walk up the hill together, seeing their final checkpoint in sight, with their faces smiling, it was a welcome sight. Team 1 made excellent progress, and reached the final checkpoint at 3. 30 pm, who then all collapsed to the floor. Once both teams had been debriefed, it was time to head home.
Overall, it was a fantastic Bronze Qualifying Expedition, seeing the group work so well together, using a variety of team and individual leadership skills, such as communication, problem solving and orienteering and self-esteem. Each and every student is a credit to St Simon Stock Catholic School and I have really enjoyed working with them this academic year.
Co-ordinator of Duke of Edinburgh Award at St Simon Stock Catholic School