The Highs and Lows of a DoE Expedition

Ten Sixth Form students set out on their Gold Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition on Friday 15 July. Starting at Keswick (in the rain) their journey took them over Catbells and High Spy to Rosthwaite where they camped on the first night.

On Day 2, in rising temperatures, they made their way to a wild camp at Mosedale, Wasdale Head. The route took the groups past Sprinkling and Styhead Tarns where they encountered various unexpected first aid training scenarios.

The wild camp, one of the “highs” given by all members, was soon to be followed on the morning of Day 3 by one of their “lows” – the steep ascent of Black Sail Pass. Then came one of the groups biggest challenges, to avoid the temptation found in Black Sail Hut of the vending machine and ice cold drinks! A pack free ascent to the summit of Haystacks soon raised spirits again, with superb panoramic views of the northern fells before the descent down Scarth Gap into Buttermere where the campsite (and its facilities) were widely appreciated!

Day 4 saw further challenge – a forecast of temperatures into the mid 30’s by midday resulted in a collective decision to get up at 4am to beat the heat along the final ridge back to Keswick. Focused and determined, both groups achieved this before joining the Cumbria Way which would take them to their final destination, The Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.

Most of the students are direct entry to Gold such that carrying a full pack in the fells to be totally self-sufficient for 4 days (with a wild camp) is a huge challenge in itself. Add to this the weather conditions throughout the expedition the students returned to school on Tuesday full of life long memories but also understandably somewhat tired! The extent of teamwork, positivity, humour, resilience, patience and concern for others seen consistently amongst the groups was at a level none of the staff had witnessed before. The students should be extremely proud of their achievements, as we are.

Well done everyone, and thank you.
Miss Harpham (DoE Leader)

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