Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Duke of Edinburgh

Despite being talked into more than I agreed to the Duke of Edinburgh expedition was surprisingly enjoyable. One aspect that I liked was the level of Independence that the keys are expected to display. On a regular school trip everything has to be risk assessed and while safety is still a priority the reliance on the adults is low. For instance on the Friday the students arrived and had to put up their own tents with no or little help and then cook their own dinner on a portable stove. They had to bring their own ingredients, decide how much to cook and eat and then wash up afterwards. After that they then had to plan out their route including timings and checkpoints along the trip.
Saturday morning and the Silver awards students have to be up, packed all their equipment including tents and cooked a hot meal by eight. They where then dropped 16km from the campsite and expected to get back to camp. The leader walked with them for a bit and then was picked up in the van. After that they were on their own. The bronze had till 10am to pack up and then they set off on their 12km route with their leader checking their navigation. My job was to pick up and drop off the various leaders around the district in the bus. So I would get a call asking to pick up one of the seven leaders and transfer them to a checkpoint 4km away. With seven leaders I was certainly busy visiting the central village of Trunch far too often for my liking. When students got back to the camp site they had to re pitch their tent and cook their dinner.
On the Sunday the students were expected to do the same again but this time with no leader only the expectation that their leader would appear at various checkpoints throughout the day with me doing laps around the local villages in the bus again. Credit to Mitch the navigator who did not get me lost and we did better than Jamie who tried to drive her Mini down a footpath.
The only issue is that there is a very definitive way to camp Duke of Edinburgh style. Rule shave to be followed. Students must walk on average three miles an hour. Breaks must be longer if you are walking quicker. To light the stove you must use matches despite the fact that lighters don't get wet. You must have a hot meal in the morning. I am sure that there are good reasons for this but in the reality of real camping expeditions you do what is easiest.
In summary I enjoyed it so much that in a couple of weeks I am involved in the real expeditions and not just the practice. Pictures of some of the places we stopped are below.
Lower Street


St Botolph's Trunch

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