Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition March 2019

On Thursday 21st March 74 Year 10 students congregated in anticipation at Waddecar Scout Camp nestled at the foot of Beacon Fell in the picturesque setting of the Forest of Bowland. The weather was brisk, but dry and the teams met their instructors for the first time. Assembling in groups 0f 7 the teams quickly got to grips with the first task – getting their tents up and sorting their kit. After this each team went on a 3 hour exploration of the area learning about the essential map and compass skills that they would be using during the expedition.

On returning from various routes that took them as far as 7km each group then prepared a hot meal using stoves and pan sets – the sweet aroma of dired noodles, pasta and packet sauces soon enveloped the camping field! They then began to learn the art of route planning – exploring the contours of the map and establishing walking speeds and pinpointing a 6 figure bearing. Then it was bedtime – where they all fell asleep soundly and instantly!

An early start the next day and they groups packed all of their gear including their tents. They spent the day exploring different routes around the area – some groups ascending the deceptive heights of Beacon Fell – where the views were clear enough to see as far as Blackpool Tower! During the walking on Friday the groups experienced some remote supervision from the instructors – which in reality meant that their instructors were never more than 50 metres away and were making sure that the groups followed the principles of the country code and that each member of the group was taking an active part in navigation.

Friday afternoon saw a change in the weather and the rain came down in fits and starts, however, it did eventually clear and once the evening meal was done the campsite was once again dry. As the second day came to a close the cold air ensured that they were soon in their tents by 9pm in order to get enough rest for the final day.

On Saturday, the weather was wonderful with some patches of warmth that necessitated sun cream application (well to Mr Price’s bald head anyway!). The groups were much faster and efficient at packing and preparing and they were all off on the final navigation practice by 9:30am. Some groups went for a final challenge – trying to get as many kilometres and height gain as possible. Sure enough once the day came to a close there were some very tired shoulders and sensitive feet! But the most important lessons had been learned and every student commented on changes that they will be making for the assessed expedition that takes place in May.

The Sam Sykes instructors were, as usual, a fantastic group – always patient and encouraging and they developed a really positive working and teaching relationship with the groups they were instructing – so thank you Dave Guthrie, Coralie Neil, Mark Cutter, Lucy Teagle, Victoria Blackwell, Phil Brotherton, Dave Prendergast, Nathan Capay, Dom Breen, Jess Bradshaw and Dave Thompson. The students really appreciated the efforts and care that you put into instructing them.

Mr Price